Reducing Air Emissions
Monitoring emissions is a big priority for Chevron and, since 1991, the refinery has cut emissions in half using various emission control technologies to reduce pollutants. Our Health, Environment & Safety group focuses on ensuring that all the work we do is performed in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Air compliance personnel “sniff” different components in the refinery to ensure they are operating within air quality standards.
The current blend of reformulated gasoline and low sulfur diesel manufactured at the refinery is known a CaRFG 3 (California Reformulated Gasoline) or CARB 3 (California Air Resources Board). CaRFG 3, a requirement of the California Air Resources Board, reduces hydrocarbon emissions. Seeing the importance of this new requirement, the refinery completed the CaRFG 3 conversion ahead of schedule by nearly a year.
Alternative Transportation, Carpools, and Vanpools
An entire corporate division is dedicated to studying and using alternative energy sources including the use of hydrogen energy and battery technologies. The refinery owns and uses several hybrid cars that run on gasoline and electric power. Many employees do their part to improve our air quality by ridesharing. The refinery also sanctions several vanpools and carpools.
The refinery has its own cogeneration facility on site in order to increase energy efficiency. In addition, this state-of-the-art facility has helped to reduce air emissions significantly since it came on line in the 1980s. We generate all of our own electricity on-site and, in the event we produce more power than we need, we can export electricity to the local power grid for use in the surrounding communities.
We use steam as a clean source of power in turbines to drive pumps, compressors and other equipment. This white, billowy steam, which is often mistaken as “smoke,” is merely water vapors and is completely harmless. Occasionally during the early morning hours the steam appears to be dark gray due to atmospheric conditions and light refraction.
A flare is a safety device used to eliminate excess pressure buildup in the refinery. Whenever pressure in the plant begins to rise, the material is safely diverted to a relief system where it is burned in smokeless flares. These flares turn hydrocarbon vapors into harmless water vapor and carbon dioxide. Flares are designed for this process, so there is no need to be alarmed when you see them doing their job.
Occasionally, you may see smoke coming from the flares. This may happen during an unplanned shutdown when steam cannot be added to the system quickly enough to eliminate smoking. Fortunately, these events are infrequent and are usually of short duration.
Click flares for more information about this important function. If you have any questions during a flaring event, please call our 24-Hour Community Hotline at 310.615.5342.