Low-carbon Blue Fuel GasolineBased in Victoria, British Columbia (BC), Canada, Blue Fuel Energy (BFE) is a privately-held company in advanced planning for the design and construction of a world-scale natural gas- and renewables-to-gasoline plant. The plant will be built on a 1055-acre site (Sundance) 23 km east of Chetwynd in Northeastern BC. The region features an extraordinary convergence of natural gas and renewable energy (hydro, wind), which will be integrated in the production of Blue Fuel gasoline. The project will thus bridge our current carbon-based economy with a future low-carbon economy.
The BFE plant will have a capacity of over 16,000 bpd, which translates to about 2.5 million litres of Blue Fuel gasoline per day. This is equivalent to about 20% of BC’s annual gasoline consumption.
Conventional petroleum-based gasoline has a carbon intensity of ~ 90 g CO2e / Mj. About 97% of Blue Fuel gasoline, however, will have a carbon intensity of 75-80 g CO2e / Mj — and be zero-sulphur. The remaining 3% will be considered renewable and have a much lower carbon intensity. Blue Fuel gasoline is thus an ideal fuel for jurisdictions such as BC and California where low-carbon fuel standards (LCFS) prevail as it can be blended seamlessly into gasoline pools to meet LCFS requirements. Blue Fuel gasoline will reduce vehicle CO2 emissions by at least 10% compared to petroleum-based gasoline. This mirrors emissions reductions mandated in BC and California.
BFE will achieve these carbon intensity reductions in two main ways. First, the plant will use clean, renewable electricity, instead of steam generated by burning natural gas, to operate all its major equipment. Doing so will eliminate the combustion of about 20 million scf/d of gas, dramatically reducing carbon intensity. Second, electrolyzing water to produce renewable hydrogen and oxygen, and then incorporating these renewable elements into the production process, further reduces natural gas consumption and carbon intensity. (The BFE electrolysis unit will be the largest in the world — by far.)
As is common in such industrial processes, the Blue Fuel production process will generate significant amounts of low-grade heat, giving rise to the opportunity to build an array of greenhouses that will provide produce for the region and beyond. These facilities will be developed in partnership with First Nations and other local entrepreneurs.
As for transporting Blue Fuel gasoline to market, there is an existing rail spur at the Sundance site and adequate line capacity to move the product to market. There may also be pipeline options for moving product.
BFE has selected technologies (all mature), completed initial technology licensor packages, initiated permitting, and commenced discussions with natural gas suppliers, fuel distributors and EPC contractors. Further, over the last eight years, in conjunction with other initiatives, the company has consulted widely in the region with First Nations, other political entities, and the general population. As a result, BFE has obtained social license for the project.
Blue Fuel gasoline production process
How Blue Fuel benefits BC and the Peace River region
Production of Blue Fuel gasoline will augment BC’s current plan to become a major LNG exporter and will deliver significant benefits to the Province. The CO2 emissions-reducing characteristics of Blue Fuel’s integrated process will help the Province develop its natural gas reserves AND meet its GHG emissions reduction targets. Blue Fuel gasoline is an important and acknowledged compliance pathway for reducing the carbon intensity of the BC fuels pool 10% by 2020).
For the Peace River region, Blue Fuel gasoline and produce from the greenhouses are vehicles for transforming the regional economy from one based on the export of raw materials to one based on the production and export of value-added products, a shift that will generate even more capital investment and sustainable, high-value jobs.