Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Martinez Renewable Fuels project took another step forward on Feb. 17, as the Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Development issued a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report. The Notice of Preparation, or NOP, alerts government agencies and the public that the county will be preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), and provides them with details about the project so they can assess it from their perspectives. Agencies and the public have 30 days to respond in writing or during a scoping meeting to be held by the county on March 15.
Marathon Petroleum’s Martinez Renewable Fuels project will convert its idled petroleum refinery to a renewable fuels manufacturing facility, with capacity to eventually produce approximately 730 million gallons per year of renewable fuels from bio-based feedstocks such as vegetable oils and rendered fats.
“The Martinez Renewable Fuels project will bring a new purpose to our facility, one that has a much lower environmental footprint by reducing air emissions, water usage, and wastewater discharge compared to the facility’s operations as a petroleum refinery,” said Amber Larsen, Environmental, Safety and Security manager at the Marathon Petroleum Martinez facility. “Despite the reduced environmental footprint, we opted to go through the more rigorous EIR process under CEQA. This will ensure our neighbors are aware of our project and have an opportunity to make their voices heard. Our core values include collaboration, respect, safety and environmental stewardship, and one way we live these values is through engagement with our stakeholders.”
The NOP issued by Contra Costa County includes a project description detailing the anticipated conversion work. For example, in addition to the reductions in emissions, water use and wastewater discharge, the NOP’s description notes that the project will not increase the volume of truck or marine vessel traffic in or around the refinery.
The project description also provides technical details on the processing units to be modified: two hydrodesulfurization units, which removed sulfur from process materials; a hydrocracking unit, which converted heavier compounds into lighter ones; and a gas plant, which separates gases into different components.
Marathon Petroleum anticipates the Martinez Renewable Fuels project will begin producing renewable fuels in 2022 and ramp up to full capacity in 2023. The Martinez project would join a portfolio of Marathon Petroleum’s renewable fuels projects that have been ongoing for years, including the conversion of its Dickinson, North Dakota, refinery to a renewable diesel plant last year; investment in its advanced biofuels subsidiary, Virent; biodiesel production at Marathon’s Cincinnati facility since 2014; and ethanol production through a Midwest joint venture.
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