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Environ Sci Technol. 2012 Dec 18;46(24):13037-47. doi: 10.1021/es3018682. Epub 2012 Dec 7.

Model to investigate energy and greenhouse gas emissions implications of refining petroleum: impacts of crude quality and refinery configuration.

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Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada.


A petroleum refinery model, Petroleum Refinery Life-cycle Inventory Model (PRELIM), which quantifies energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with the detail and transparency sufficient to inform policy analysis is developed. PRELIM improves on prior models by representing a more comprehensive range of crude oil quality and refinery configuration, using publicly available information, and supported by refinery operating data and experts' input. The potential use of PRELIM is demonstrated through a scenario analysis to explore the implications of processing crudes of different qualities, with a focus on oil sands products, in different refinery configurations. The variability in GHG emissions estimates resulting from all cases considered in the model application shows differences of up to 14 g CO₂eq/MJ of crude, or up to 11 g CO₂eq/MJ of gasoline and 19 g CO₂eq/MJ of diesel (the margin of deviation in the emissions estimates is roughly 10%). This variability is comparable to the magnitude of upstream emissions and therefore has implications for both policy and mitigation of GHG emissions.

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