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California drivers embrace renewable diesel from San Francisco Refinery

Nearly two years of planning and teamwork have cemented Phillips 66’s position as one of the country’s largest renewable-diesel producers — and California drivers at over 600 76® stations can now fuel their diesel engines with a cleaner-burning alternative.

Making this happen required procuring new feedstocks, repurposing pipeline and terminal infrastructure, and reimaging customer sites. Most critically, operators at the Phillips 66 San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo, California, leveraged their refining expertise to process pretreated vegetable oil feedstocks through a hydrotreater to make renewable diesel. Today, the single unit, called Unit 250, produces nearly 9,000 barrels per day of renewable diesel.

“This project allowed Phillips 66 to utilize our existing kit to provide the flexibility to process fats, oils and greases to make lower-lifecycle carbon-intensive transportation fuels,” said Nik Weinberg-Lynn, Rodeo Renewable Energy Manager.

Establishing capabilities in renewable diesel required close collaboration among Phillips 66 teams, including Value Chain Strategy & Optimization, Commercial, Midstream, U.S. Marketing and the San Francisco Refinery.

Once the groundwork was set, Unit 250 started up really well, said Rebecca Uhlich, Prepare to Operate Manager for Renewable Energy.

“We basically cut in soybean feed, and within a day or two, we were on grade with the renewable diesel,” Uhlich said.

Supplying renewable diesel helps advance California’s climate goals and provides a great product for consumers, said Weinberg-Lynn.

Consumers at De Long Liu’s 76 station in Petaluma, California, agree. Liu said local wineries and farms use diesel trucks and equipment, ensuring a steady supply of customers. He averages over 30,000 gallons of renewable diesel sales each month.

“I was very pleased with the 76 plan to change over from carbon diesel to renewable cleaner energy,” said Liu, who has owned the Petaluma station since 2005. “Our consumers like this clean and sustainable energy, too.”