September 2003

Special Report: Refining Developments

Case history: Converting an MTBE unit to isooctane operation

Due to the ban of blending MTBE into RFG, this company revamped its operation to produce another gasoline component using technology never proven on world-scale levels

Nurminen, M., Neste Jacobs Oy; Birkhoff, R., KBR; Hunszinger, P., Jarvelin, H., Alberta Envirofuels Inc.

Alberta Envirofuels Inc. (AEF) of Edmonton, Canada, a joint venture between ChevronTexaco and Fortum Oy, was established in 1992 to produce MTBE for the Californian gasoline market. MTBE was the sole product from this site. During the mid to late 1990s, refiners preferred using MTBE to meet the 2% oxygenate specification for gasoline as mandated by the Clean Air Act. However, contamination of groundwater and drinking water linked to reformulated gasoline (RFG) spurred the banning of MTBE from gasoline in California. Since MTBE could no longer be used in gasoline blending at the end of 2003, AEF held a precarious position

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