With a global push for decarbonization, significant projects are both planned and ongoing to retrofit existing hydrocarbon equipment for the biofuel economy. One such conversion is transitioning hydrotreating equipment to treat plant derived oils, which can result in a fuel having a higher-octane rating than traditional diesel product. However, due to the unsaturated nature of the plant derived oils, the hydrotreating process needs to operate at higher pressures and use more hydrogen feedstock to produce the diesel. As a result, the consequences and associated risk will change for the new operation.
While operational hazards for biodiesel hydrotreating are similar to hydrocarbon refining, the introduction of process changes does necessitate revisiting facility siting per U.S. 29CFR1910.1191 (Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals) to evaluate potential impacts from explosions, fires, and toxic events on facility employees.