Renewable diesel

Renewable diesel is diesel fuel manufactured from biomass-based feedstocks, such as vegetable oils and rendered animal fats. In 2018, Cherry Point became the first and only refinery in the Pacific Northwest capable of processing these feedstocks alongside conventional feedstocks like crude oils.

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Renewable dieselCastrol

Low carbon product for our customers

Our renewable diesel has only 30% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of fossil diesel[1] and is chemically identical to conventional ultra-low sulfur diesel.

In October 2021, we announced plans for a $269 million investment in three projects at Cherry Point, aimed at improving the refinery’s efficiency, reducing its carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions and increasing its renewable diesel production capability. Expected to create more than 300 local jobs over the next three years, this investment is aligned with our aims to be net zero across our operations by 2050 or sooner and to reduce the carbon intensity of the products we sell by 50% by 2050 or sooner.

Co-processing has helped bp reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from our Cherry Point diesel. Co-processing at refineries can take place in units such as hydrotreaters, hydrocrackers or fluid catalytic converters. Cherry Point uses diesel hydrotreaters. More specifically, we hydrotreat crude-based diesel and animal fats simultaneously in the same process unit, resulting in a mixed product that cannot be segregated. Our hydrotreater can also accommodate other low carbon-intensity feedstocks, including vegetable oils.

Our renewable diesel plant, located at our Cherry Point Refinery in Whatcom County.

Co-processing at our Cherry Point refinery produces a diesel product that has lower CO₂ emissions than fossil based diesel fuel.

Regulatory incentives can help make renewable diesel fuel a more commercially viable product.

bp has prior experience with co-processing biomass feedstocks at our refineries in Australia and Spain. Where capabilities exist, co-processing is an efficient way to reduce the GHG footprint of a fuel. However, it still requires regulatory incentives to be commercially viable because producing renewable diesel is more expensive and logistically difficult.

Supporting progressive climate policies

In 2021, Washington state adopted both a new carbon pricing system and a new low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) mandating a 20% reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 2038 (compared with 2017 levels). Co-processing already generates Advanced Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the federal Renewable Fuels Standard, and it can also generate credits under LCFS programs in California, Oregon and other states.

We believe that carbon pricing is the most economically efficient policy mechanism to incentivize decarbonization, while recognizing that regulation also has a critical role to play. With that in mind, we strongly advocated for the new cap-and-invest program in Washington state and for an extension of California’s existing program to 2030. We are now working with state policymakers in Oregon to share our experiences with other programs as they craft their own cap-and-invest system.

  • [1]

    This figure is based on GREET 3.0 for California Air Resources Board provisional pathway using tallow feedstock.

  • [2]

    Applies where generators over 25 megawatts are required to possess credits.

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