1. Effluent Treatment Plant Pond 6 Solar Powered Aerators.
Pond 6 needs to be continuously aerated to perform efficiently and prevent the pond from going anaerobic (oxygen deficient) and causing odors. Rather than use electrically driven aerators, Shell installed solar powered aerators at Pond 6.
2. Wetlands Pond Windmill.
The Shell Refinery maintains a wetlands pond onsite near I-680. This pond serves as habitat to a variety of wildlife such as ducks and geese. To prevent the water from going stagnant or from drying up, we pump water from the nearby Peyton Slough into the pond. Rather than use an electrically driven pump, we use a windmill to pump the water.
3. Phytoremediation (groundwater pumping using trees).
On the east side of the Shell Refinery, we are required to pump and then treat the groundwater. Typically, electrically driven groundwater pumps are used and the effluent treatment plant treats the groundwater. Rather than use this energy intensive process, we planted Poplar trees that have a high water uptake. The trees absorb the groundwater and then we harvest the trees. This naturally occurring process treats the groundwater and thus saves on electricity and chemicals.
4. Recycling of iron solids.
As part of the Refinery’s wastewater treatment process, the Refinery generates approximately 400 trucks a year of iron solids. Rather than dispose of these solids in a landfill, the Refinery sends the solids to a cement kiln. Iron is a key ingredient in cement production. By using our iron solids, the cement kiln does not have to mine iron ore, which is an energy intensive process. Landfill capacity in California is limited and by sending these iron solids to the cement kiln, we do not use up as much landfill capacity.
5. Natural Gas Reduction at Furnaces.
The Refinery uses natural gas in furnaces to heat up oil as part of the refining process. This use of natural gas is similar to a household using natural gas in a water heater to make hot water for showers, cleaning dishes, etc. To reduce the amount of natural gas used in the furnaces, the Refinery has installed energy efficiency equipment to heat the oil before it goes into the furnace. Because the oil is now hotter entering the furnace, the furnace doesn’t need to use as much natural gas to heat up the oil.
6. Metals Reclamation and Recycling of Catalysts.
The Refinery uses catalysts as part of the refining process. These metals are the active ingredients in these catalysts. These metals must be mined and then purified before they can be used in the Refinery. When these catalysts are used up and no longer work effectively, the Refinery sends the catalyst to a metals reclamation facility. This facility extracts these metals and then new catalyst is produced with these reclaimed metals (rather than have to mine ore or purify the metals, both of which are energy intensive processes).
Also, the Refinery sends used catalyst to a facility that processes the catalyst so it can be re-used. This eliminates the need to produce new catalyst, which is also an energy intensive process.
7. Recycling Program.
The Refinery has a substantial recycling program. In 2014, the Refinery recycled 75 tons of cardboard, 2 tons of aluminum cans and plastic and glass bottles, 4,000 cubic yards of wood, over 1,000 pounds of batteries, over 600 tons of concrete, and over 500 tons of scrap metal. The Refinery also recycles electronic equipment like computers, fluorescent light bulbs, and asphalt.
8. Lighting Timers and Motion Sensors.
In order to reduce the amount of electricity used in the Refinery’s office buildings, timers and motion sensors have been installed in order to turn off the lights when the building is not occupied. Light sensors have also been installed on various outside lights in the Refinery in order to turn them off during the daytime.