Petroleum coke is a solid residue that is a byproduct of heavy oil upgraders. Because of the high heating value and potential use an energy source the Energy Resources Conservation Board of Alberta “ERCB” does not allow petroleum coke to be disposed of. Instead, large and growing piles or accumulations of petroleum coke exist in Alberta today with no apparent near term use.
Alberta petroleum coke stockpiles exceed 60 million tonnes and are accumulating at a rate of 20,000 metric tonnes a day (7 million tonnes/year). Moreover, the province’s production of bitumen is expanding rapidly and so therefore is the rate of accumulation of petroleum coke.
Suncor all by itself produces about 3 million tonnes of petroleum coke a year of which approximately 0.5 million tonnes is transported by CN rail and passes right by the GFFI plantsite enroute to Port Hardy.
GFFI can use petroleum coke as a feedstock in addition to or in place of coal. At full license capacity, our process design contemplates a maximum usage of 50% petroleum coke (about 2 million tonnes a year). As a feedstock, petroleum coke has advantages and disadvantages:
- higher product yield, reduced energy cost and lower cost versus coal.
- high water consumption, high sulphur impurities and increased handling cost.
For more information about petroleum coke view a brochure from Suncor Energy Inc. about their petroleum coke business; http://www.suncor.com/pdf/2010_Pet_Coke_brochure.pdf