University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

DNREC works with Delaware City refinery to accelerate air quality inprovements


DOVER (May 3, 2011) – In anticipation of its restart, the Delaware City Refining Company has received permits from DNREC and begun a series of projects that are expected to improve the environmental performance of the facility, as part of its commitment to the state to reduce the refinery’s emissions below all previous years of operation from day one.

Over the past year, DNREC has been in constant communication with the refinery’s new owner and management team to ensure that the turnaround activities proceeded in compliance with environmental regulations; that all required permits have been obtained, and that environmental obligations are understood and fulfilled since PBF Energy LLC purchased the refinery from Valero last year.

“These investments will produce tangible benefits in air quality,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, “and are important steps towards fulfilling DCRC’s commitment to operate the plant more cleanly than previous owners, and significantly and steadily reduce air pollution over the next four years.”

The range of projects at the refinery will produce environmental benefits, either through upgraded technology or by the shuttering of outmoded petroleum refining apparatus. These investments include:

Converting the combustion turbines to operate on natural gas, rather than “syngas” (synthesis gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen derived by gasifying petroleum coke);

  • Shutting down the gasification complex;
  • Eliminating the long-term storage of petroleum coke onsite, which contributes to local dust and particulate matter issues, by shipping petroleum coke out of the refinery through the Port of Wilmington;
  • Installing a new seamless bypass system for the carbon monoxide boiler of the fluid catalytic cracking unit to ensure its downstream pollution control device is never bypassed;
  • Building two coke storage barns (one at the refinery and one at the Port of Wilmington) to minimize air impacts further during short-term handling;
  • Adding duct burners to operate on natural gas and refinery fuel gas, rather than syngas, which will provide the refinery with a greater measure of operational flexibility and allow heat recovery steam generators to augment its steam requirements, instead of obtaining steam from more polluting boilers; and
  • Operating “fenceline” or perimeter ambient air monitors for particulate matter emissions to ensure there are no violations of the ambient air quality standards.

The refinery’s combined cycle units’ (CCU) modification is expected to result in emissions reductions of approximately 174 tons per year of nitrogen oxide (NOx), 1,700 tons per year of sulfur dioxide (SO2), and 40 tons per year of particulate matter (PM10). The realized NOx reductions are an important component of the Delaware City refinery’s strategy to meet its NOx cap established in an agreement between DNREC and the refinery’s new owner as a precondition of restart, which includes a required 40 percent reduction in emissions from 2007 levels by 2014.

Vol. 41, No. 174

Michael Globetti, 302-739-9902
Public Affairs-Office of the Secretary
Dept. of Natural Resources
and Environmental Control