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09/07/2021

Imperial to produce renewable diesel at Strathcona refinery

Kelly Gray
Editor, Octane
Kelly Gray profile picture
Strathcona Refinery near Edmonton, AB (Photo: Business Wire)
Strathcona Refinery near Edmonton, AB (Photo: Business Wire)

Last week, Imperial Oil Co. (Imperial) announced that it will move ahead with plans to construct a world-class renewable diesel complex at its Strathcona refinery near Edmonton. This new complex is expected to produce more than 1 billion litres per year of renewable diesel from locally sourced and grown feedstocks. The project hopes to realize about 3 million tonnes per year in emissions reductions in the Canadian transportation sector.

Imperial chairman, president and CEO, Brad Corson, states that the announcement demonstrates the company's commitment and support for Canada’s transition to lower-emission fuels.  “This world-class facility will be a significant value-generating, forward-looking project that brings together our proprietary technologies and refining scale to the benefit of the environment, the economy and local job creation.”

Renewable diesel production will source blue hydrogen (hydrogen produced from natural gas with carbon capture and storage) to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions relative to conventional hydrogen production. Approximately 500,000 tonnes of CO2 are expected to be captured annually. The blue hydrogen and bio feedstock will be combined with a proprietary catalyst to produce premium low-carbon diesel fuel.

Imperial is currently in partnership discussions with government and industry, including the Government of Alberta, as well as the Government of British Columbia who have agreed to support this project with an agreement under Part 3 of its low-carbon fuel legislation.

Third-party studies have shown renewable diesel from various non-petroleum feedstocks can provide life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions reductions of approximately 40 percent to 80 percent compared to petroleum-based diesel. The reduction of 3 million tonnes of greenhouse gases is estimated to be the equivalent of taking more than 650,000 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.

Imperial’s announcement builds on its commitment to reduce emissions. In June, Imperial announced its participation as a founding member of the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Alliance. The goal of this unique alliance, working collectively with the broader oil and gas industry and the federal and Alberta governments, is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands operations by 2050 to help Canada meet its climate goals, including its Paris Agreement commitments and 2050 net-zero aspirations.