A cornerstone of our environmental strategy is to continually optimize our operations to increase energy efficiency. We consider energy efficiency an opportunity that provides significant financial and environmental benefits. We have established multiple programs to improve energy efficiency across our assets, including measuring energy efficiency of our refineries using the HSB Solomon Associates Energy Intensity Index (EII®), and the real-time monitoring of our transport trucks' and marine fleet's traveling speeds to minimize fuel combustion and ensure the safety of our employees. These energy-efficiency programs and associated metrics have achieved best-in-class performance with numerous U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifications and endorsements through the ENERGY STAR® and SmartWay® Programs. Below are some examples of energy efficiency efforts being undertaken by some of our business segments:
Energy Efficiency at our Refineries
Our refining business is the source of the majority of our criteria and GHG emissions. Thus, even small gains in energy efficiency at our refineries have a significant impact on overall company emissions. In addition, after crude oil, energy is the single largest expense for our refineries, so there is ample economic incentive to be as energy-efficient as practicable.
In 2010, we established a “Focus on Energy” initiative to bolster our commitment to improving efficiency of our existing installations. As part of this initiative, a team of dedicated energy specialists was formed to execute energy efficiency projects throughout our refineries and to track and communicate nearly 600 individual energy metrics system-wide that influence our EII scores.
By tracking these metrics in real time, we ensure that we continually focus on energy. Through this focus, our refineries have achieved significant energy-efficiency improvements and performance.For example, based on HSB Solomon Associates' 2016 Fuels Study of the U.S. Refining Sector, three of our refineries have the best EII performance for their size and complexity, two more of our refineries achieved top quartile EII performance for their size and complexity, and the remaining two refineries achieved more than a 5 percent improvement in their EII scores since 2014. The EII is also one of the key metrics reviewed by our Refining Leadership and Executive Leadership teams as an ongoing measure of our performance.
The EPA also utilizes the EII metric as one of its eligibility criteria for refineries www.seeking recognition in its ENERGY STAR® Program. As shown on the chart below, MPC is the industry leader in recognition under the ENERGY STAR Program, having earned 36 of the 48 total recognitions awarded to U.S. refineries. This represents 75 percent of such recognitions — an overwhelmingly large share, considering our refineries represents approximately 10 percent of the total U.S. refining capacity. In addition, our Canton, Ohio, and Garyville, Louisiana, refineries have earned ENERGY STAR recognition every year of the program's existence — the only refineries in the nation with this distinction.
Energy Efficiency at our Biodiesel Facility
Beyond our refineries, we are making strides in energy efficiency metrics at other locations. For example, in April 2017, the EPA recognized our Cincinnati, Ohio, biodiesel plant for achieving the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry, which recognizes plants that achieve at least a 10 percent reduction in energy intensity within five years. We achieved an energy intensity reduction of 30.7 percent within one year, reducing emissions while increasing throughput by 28 percent. This accomplishment is even more significant given we have owned the plant only since 2014.
Transportation Fleet Efficiency
Our Terminal, Transport and Rail (TT&R) business is a partner company in the EPA’s SmartWay® Transport Partnership, which recognizes the best-performing freight carriers for GHG efficiency. To achieve this milestone, TT&R began installing low rolling resistant tires along with other aerodynamic improvements, such as modified mud flaps. TT&R also installed DriveCam® and GEOTAB driver-assist systems that monitor and moderate driver behavior (such as fast acceleration, hard braking, speed and excessive idling) to ensure our vehicle fleets are not only operated safely, but also more efficiently. Finally, TT&R has optimized delivery routes to minimize transport of empty loads. These improvements reduce overall fuel usage.
Marine Fleet Efficiency
Beginning in 2015, our Marine business implemented a fuel optimization program. Marine determined that the majority of its fuel consumption occurred while vessels were operating at higher speeds. By moderating speed as little as 1 to 2 mph, on average, Marine projected it could reduce fuel consumption between 10 and 20 percent. By implementing a default speed limit and a real-time dashboard for captains to track key performance metrics, fuel efficiency increased by approximately 20 percent during 2016, the first full year of the program. This saved roughly 1.2 million gallons of diesel fuel in 2016 alone, reducing emissions.
We are an industry leader in reducing emissions from refinery flares. As part of the EPA’s refinery flare enforcement initiative, we collaborated with the EPA to define a series of operating parameters that ensure flares continuously operate above 98 percent combustion efficiency. We were the first company to produce and publish the results of our own flare performance tests, setting the standard for the use of new measurement techniques and technologies to characterize and reduce emissions from industrial flares. Subsequently, we entered into an agreement with the EPA to reduce flaring emissions at our refineries.
The agreement includes provisions for source reduction (preventing gases from entering the flare system) and installation of systems that recover waste gas that has entered the flare system so it can be put to beneficial use as fuel gas within the refinery. Recovering these gases reduces reliance on purchased natural gas, lowering overall GHG emissions. The agreement also includes waste gas caps that ensure levels of flaring will remain low into the future.
By the end of 2016, our flare efficiency improvements resulted in an 87 percent reduction in emissions of volatile organic compounds, an 85 percent reduction in emissions of hazardous air pollutants, and a 51 percent reduction in GHG emissions from 2007 levels, which was the baseline year for the flare performance studies. Flare gas recovery systems are currently being installed at three additional refineries, and all are scheduled to be operational by the end of 2018, resulting in further GHG emission reductions. In total, we expect to invest more than $375 million on projects that reduce flaring.
Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions
Our energy-efficiency efforts have enabled us to avoid emitting millions of tons of GHGs per year. For instance, our refineries have reduced GHG emission intensity (the amount of emissions for a given quantity of product manufactured) by approximately 16 percent since 2002 while increasing overall throughput by more than 400,000 bpd. This means since 2002, we added the equivalent capacity of the eighth-largest refinery in the U.S. without significantly increasing GHG emissions over 2002 levels.
This is an extraordinary accomplishment and demonstrates the effectiveness energy optimization and efficiency improvements have on reducing GHG emissions. For more information on GHG emissions and our analyses regarding Climate-Related Risks and Opportunities, please review our publication Perspectives on Climate-Related Scenarios: Risks And Opportunities (October 2017).
Perspectives on Climate-Related Scenarios - (PDF 1.4 MB)
Criteria Pollutant Emissions
MPC works to minimize and reduce criteria pollutant emissions aided by the energy efficiency and flare reduction programs described above. As demonstrated in Figures 5 & 6 below, these efforts have been very successful. An example is at our Galveston Bay Refinery, where over the next several years we are replacing old heaters with new ones equipped with state-of-the-art emissions controls. By investing in new heaters, we will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by over 370 tons per year.
From 2002 to 2016, MPC reduced emissions of criteria pollutants throughout our operations by 63 percent while increasing gross refining throughput by approximately 27 percent. Such improvements in emissions intensity are not achieved without significant expense. MPC has invested approximately $700 million to achieve these dramatic results.
Renewable Fuels & Renewable Energy
We are invested in the production of renewable fuels through equity ownership in three corn ethanol plants operated by the Anderson's Inc. and located in Greenville, Ohio (140 million gallon/year capacity), Clymers, Indiana (130 million gallon/year capacity) and Albion, Michigan (140 million gallon/year capacity). We own and operate a facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, that produces biodiesel from soybean oil and methanol. We have nearly completed an expansion that will increase capacity of the plant to approximately 90 million gallons per year, making it one of the five largest biodiesel plants in the U.S. We also support advanced biofuels research through our equity ownership in Enchi Corporation, which is developing proprietary technology related to bioprocessing of corn fiber to produce cellulosic ethanol.
MPC is also an industry leader in offering renewable fuels along with conventional fuels to the consumer through our Speedway retail stores. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center, just over 3,000 stations in the U.S. offer ethanol flex fuel to the public. Speedway offers ethanol flex fuel at more than 330 of its 2,730 stores. This is 11 percent of the total stations offering ethanol flex fuel nationwide. The Andersons ethanol plants also offer ethanol flex fuel directly to the public. Further, Speedway offers diesel fuel with at least 11 percent biodiesel (referred to as B11) as a consumer choice at more than 110 stores, and 20 percent biodiesel (referred to as B20) at over 80 travel centers through a joint venture. Finally, Speedway has also begun to offer compressed natural gas at select locations where there is consumer demand for this fuel.
We continue to actively explore the potential for renewable energy sources at our facilities. In 2012, we installed a 6,000-panel solar array at the Municipal Water Pollution Control Center in Findlay, Ohio, to study the potential for using solar energy at our own facilities. MPC continues to operate the solar array to gather data on its performance. In the meantime, the electricity generated is donated to the city of Findlay. In 2016, we installed a wind turbine at our pipeline station in Harpster, Ohio, to study whether wind power could provide the needed reliability that the current electric grid provides, as an option to be deployed at other facilities.
MPC's wind turbine located at our pipeline station in Harpster, Ohio
We strive to achieve zero spills of crude oil, petroleum products or other materials. We take many precautionary measures to prevent spills such as:
- Conducting regular preventive maintenance and equipment inspections
- Employing various mechanical safeguards
- Maintaining operational standards and procedures
- Providing regular training to our employees
- Vetting our contractors
When a spill does occur, we mobilize well-trained emergency responders to mitigate and remediate any health, safety or environmental impacts. Each spill is investigated to identify the root cause and appropriate corrective actions to minimize the risk of a recurrence. We also use environmental metrics for spills to continually measure our performance and identify opportunities for improvement. We conduct annual drills and training exercises at both the facility and corporate level to ensure emergency-response preparedness.
Wastes and Residual Materials
We maintain programs to reduce the volumes of hazardous and non-hazardous materials we generate. We recycle or reclaim materials whenever possible. Our facilities develop programs for waste minimization, recycling, reuse and reclamation based on their specific needs. We collect and analyze waste management data from all of our business units to identify and prioritize opportunities for waste minimization.