As countries strive to meet the ever-descending carbon emission targets, the use of ‘ready-now’ technologies are key to the energy transition – that is, technologies that can be deployed quickly, use existing infrastructure, and make a measurable impact. A current focus for many clients is in renewable liquid fuels such as sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel (RD), including the recently announced facility by Refuel Energy Inc. (Refuel). The SAF and RD are produced via proven refinery processes and are chemically analogous to their petroleum-derived counterparts. This makes them both ‘drop-in’ fuels that can be deployed quickly without costly modifications to existing infrastructure or end users.
From a carbon emission perspective, the primary benefit of renewable liquid fuels is that the feedstock is from plant-derived oils, animal fats or greases. This leads to significantly reduced CO2 emissions on an overall lifecycle as the carbon is biogenic in nature and follows a more circular and sustainable path. This reduces life cycle CO2 emissions for end users by up to 80 percent.
Fluor has process subject matter experts (SME) that understand the technology to produce renewable fuels and maintain technical relationships with all the major licensors. This SME knowledge is crucial to tailor the design to meet the project-specific requirements. Fluor is currently executing both front-end engineering and design (FEED) and detailed design on renewable diesel projects in Canada, demonstrating that this technology is both mature and commercially viable.
Fluor has been executing energy projects in Canada for more than 70 years, including studies and FEEDs as well as full engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of projects. Designing and building world-class industrial facilities comes with unique challenges, especially the nuances of design in a cold-weather climate like Canada; the project teams at Fluor leverage real-time information from active large-scale projects both in Canada and around the world to develop execution strategies that overcome those challenges.
In Canada, Fluor has executed more than 49 million field hours as well as designed and placed over 1,600 modules. This significant construction experience and associated learnings has enhanced Fluor’s design processes to make fabrication and construction input an essential element of execution planning, starting in pre-FEED and FEED, which supports both cost and schedule certainty.
“Fluor’s involvement in this project underscores our ongoing commitment to helping clients deliver lower-carbon energy,” says Mark Brown, vice president & general manager, Fluor Canada. “By combining Fluor’s global renewables expertise in engineering and construction, Fluor is able to provide a solution that supports Refuel’s mission of delivering a sustainable fossil fuel alternative that not only lowers emissions but will also generate local economic opportunity.”
When Refuel approached Fluor regarding a 3,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) renewable liquid fuel facility in Ontario, they were looking for a knowledgeable partner to help them bring this technology to fruition. The proposed facility, Refuel YYZ, will produce both SAF and RD. From a process technology perspective, Refuel selected Topsoe’s proprietary HydroFlexTM and H2bridgeTM for this state-of-the-art facility. Fluor has a long-standing working relationship with Topsoe and is currently executing renewable fuel projects that use their technology.
Regarding the facility’s feedstock, Refuel is seeking operational flexibility, as this enables them to use a variety of regionally-sourced options in a competitive and sustainable manner. Fluor will work closely with Refuel to select the pre-treatment technology that provides the desired flexibility while still meeting Topsoe’s requirements for a feed into the RD and SAF facility.
For site selection, Fluor and Refuel will develop plot plan options to fit within the proposed sites along with leveraging learnings from active Fluor renewable fuels projects. The proposed fabrication and construction strategy is to engage with local Southern Ontario fabricators and construction contractors who are familiar with the area.
“Refuel YYZ is a prime example of a project that is good for both the environment and the local community we will be operating in,” says Zohrab Mawani, Founder and CEO of Refuel. “By leveraging local constructors, suppliers and general labor force, we will not only ensure the successful execution of the project, but establish ourselves as an integral part of the community.”
Refuel’s vision to build a renewable fuels facility in Southern Ontario is an excellent opportunity to support Canada’s energy transition. Fluor’s extensive experience designing and building projects in Canada will ensure the project is set up for success. The project itself is well-positioned to benefit the local community through providing an actionable path to CO2 emissions reductions along with local employment opportunities.
Mark Van Ginhoven, Project Manager, Fluor
Alex Liu, Project Development, Refuel