According to Industrial Info Resources (IIR), US refineries in April made more than 1.5 million barrels of diesel fuel each day. As a comparison, approximately 8.5 million barrels of gasoline were refined per day in the US during the same period.
During the pandemic, Shell, Marathon and Phillips-66 closed 11 refineries in the United States. Today, 8 of these 11 plants are being modernized. Some plants will restart traditional operations. Others will be converted to oil export terminals, and more than half of these shuttered plants are being upgraded and converted to process renewables, such as biodiesel and renewable diesel.
What are biodiesel and renewable diesel?
Biodiesel is a biodegradable fuel manufactured domestically from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease.
Renewable Diesel, previously known as “Green Diesel,” renewable diesel meets ASTM D975 specifications for petroleum diesel. It is a hydrocarbon that uses similar feedstocks to biodiesel, and it is produced primarily by hydrotreating, gasification or pyrolysis:
- Traditional hydrotreating—involves reacting feedstock (lipids) with hydrogen under elevated temperatures and pressures in the presence of a catalyst.
- Pyrolysis—is a process that involves the chemical decomposition of organic materials at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen. The process produces a liquid pyrolysis oil that gets blended (or co-fed) with crude oil into a standard petroleum refinery.
- Gasification—thermally converts biomass to syngas, and with the addition of catalysts, the biomass is converted to hydrocarbon fuels.
Sundyne API pumps have been used in these applications for quite some time, and they have a long and successful track record for these and other applications in refineries. The 3 most common types of Sundyne API pumps deployed in refineries include:
Sundyne Direct Drive Pumps
Sundyne’s API 610, direct drive family of pumps are vertical inline, single stage, overhung pumps that are either a close coupled design (OH5) or they feature a separate bearing bracket (OH3) with a flexible shaft coupling to accommodate multiple motor options. Space-saving vertical designs and exceptional reliability make Sundyne direct drive pumps a preferred choice for refining applications.
Sundyne Integrally Geared Pumps
Sundyne API 610, OH6 integrally gear driven pumps are specifically engineered for critical high-head, low-flow, heavy-duty services required in the hydrocarbon processing industries. Sundyne’s unique integrally gear driven pump design offers the ability to optimize efficiency, curve shape, NPSH, runout horsepower and radial loading to provide economical, reliable operation through various combinations of impeller, diffuser, and inducer geometry.
Marelli Multi-Stage API Pumps
Highly reliable with a long life, Marelli multi-stage pumps are designed to reach a wide variety of flow rates & pressures. They’re designed to run continuously for years with rugged rotor designs & low vibration balanced rotors. Each Marelli multi-stage pump is efficiently designed to save energy and meet API 610, BB2, BB3 & VS1 (and ISO 13709) standard requirements for overhung, between-bearings and vertically-suspended centrifugal pumps.
When Processes Conditions Change, Consider the Following Aftermarket Upgrades:
The modernization processes currently taking place in refineries offer a perfect opportunity to re-rate and upgrade Sundyne pumps that have been dutifully working in plants for years.
The casing and impellers on Sundyne pumps last for several decades. But when a plant’s process conditions change –particularly when a refinery switches parts of its operations from traditional refining to renewable product refining – that presents a perfect opportunity to re-rate pumps and upgrade them via:
- Gearbox Exchanges – a new gearbox assembly is just a fraction of the cost of replacing the entire pump. A gearbox exchange returns a pump to its original factory specifications, includes a new warranty, and includes all of the latest feature improvements that enhance performance and extend MTBM.
- Bearing Frame Replacements – replacing a pump’s power frame with a new bearing frame upgrade keeps pumps compliant with API 610 specifications. It also increases reliability and reduces MTBM.
- Other upgrades – including genuine parts replacements, seal arrangement conversions, and pump re-rates ensure that equipment is optimized to the Best Efficiency Point (BEP) required by the new process conditions.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects biodiesel production in the United States to increase by 7 percent this year, averaging 114,000 barrels per day, with similar growth estimates for 2023. The EIA’s production forecast is based on their expectation of growing U.S. diesel consumption, along with higher renewable fuel standard targets, and the $1 per gallon biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credit.
IIR recently forecasted that more than $37 billion dollars is currently earmarked for renewable diesel investments. A handful of US refineries are still currently in the planning stages for their modernization efforts – and now is the perfect time to upgrade pumping equipment, to bring existing pumps back up to original factory specifications at a fraction of the cost of purchasing new equipment.
For more information on Sundyne’s pumps used in refineries, click here.
For information on Sundyne’s re-rates and gearbox exchanges, click here.