- Top Stories
- ‘Maximum LCO’ Avalanche Hits NPRA as Refiners Seek to Boost Diesel Output
- U.S. EPA Petitions IMO for Low-Sulfur Bunker Fuel ‘ECA’
- Gasoline Falls, Diesel Rises Through 2030: Hart Analyst
- Gasoline Has Peaked; Time to Invest for Mid-Distillate
- Despite Recent Price Fall, Diesel Will Resume Premium to Gasoline: WoodMac
- U.S. Diesel Trucking Weakness Seen Continuing in Next 2 Quarters
- Growing Worldwide Water Shortages Could Stifle Biofuels Growth
- U.S. Diesel Engine/Parts Demand Seem Rising 6.2%/Year
- Around the world of Diesel
- IFP Launches International Diesel Consortium Study on Low-Compression-Ratio Impacts:
- Mazda to Battle Gasoline-Electric Hybrids with Clean-Diesels:
- Cat Announces Additional Layoffs in Illinois, Georgia, Indiana:
- Costa Rica Switches to Euro-2 (500-ppm Sulfur) Diesel:
- U.S. Appeals Court Reverses Lower Court on Los Angeles/Long Beach Clean-Truck Port Fees Injunction:
- Diesel Emissions-Control Companies Tout Readiness to Help Fleets Apply for $300 Million U.S. ‘DERA’ Federal Grants:
- Clean Diesel Technologies (CDT) Reports Loss for 2008:
- US Dept. of Energy (DOE), Delphi, Peterbilt Test Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) on Diesel Truck for Auxiliary Power:
- More News
- Market Report: Demand Drop Hits China; Prices Rise on Stock Falls
- Diesel & Distillates Conference Mar 14-15, Houston
- BASF Announces Max-LCO Catalyst to Boost Diesel, Reduce Gasoline from FCC
- ULSD Marketing Sorely Lacking in U.S. Retail; Sunoco, Valero Stations Need Labels
- ASTM ‘E’ Subcommittee Balloting Cetane Test Method
- Connacher’s Montana Refinery Launches ULSD Production
- ULSD Deposits Mystery Continues; New Additives Claim
- Syntroleum Fully Funds ‘Renewable Diesel’ Project; Mulls 2nd Plant
- Volvo Claims SCR Better than EGR for DPF Regeneration, Fuel Economy
- Encouraging, Discouraging Diesel Fuel Quality Data in Infineum Survey
- Despite N. American Truck Downturn, Navistar Sees 2009 as Profitable
- Nissan Dims Outlook for Diesels in N. America
- Neste: Add “HVO’ to Your ULSD Dictionary – and Maybe ‘HAF’
- NRDC Nixes Corn-Ethanol Future; Sees More ‘Renewable Diesel’ in LCFS
- ‘Cellulosic’ Biofuels May Not Be Ready; Corn Lobby Could Push Its Alternative
- Idemitsu Unveils Diesel Sulfur Adsorber for Vehicle Fuel Cell Scheme
- Distillate-Rich Oil Shale Developers See Big Potential
- Cummins, Daimler, Volvo/Mack, Paccar Claim Urea-SCR ‘Only Solution’ to U.S. EPA 2010 NOx Limits
- Key Prices
- Distillate Watch
Major refinery catalyst/technology vendors poured forth an extraordinary number of diesel-oriented technical papers at last week’s National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) annual meeting here.
The shift is a reflection of the world-wide trend away from gasoline and toward middle distillate, thanks to economy-driven growth in heavy-duty diesel demand, European light-duty diesel demand, ethanol blending (causing gasoline demand destruction) and more high-efficiency, low-consumption vehicles.
U.S. EPA announced March 30 that it is petitioning International Maritime Organization to include U.S. coastlines as an “emission control area” (ECA) allowing low-sulfur ship bunker fuel mandates in place of today’s high-sulfur fuels.
Canada is expected to join the U.S. in the ECA petition.
Demand for gasoline in the U.S. will actually decline between now and 2030, according to an analysis by Hart Energy Consulting refining executive director Terry Higgins.
In a presentation to the Hart World Fuels Conference here, Higgins, former technical director at National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, said that U.S. gasoline demand would fall from around 10 million barrels/day to around 8.8 million b/d in 2030.
Domestic and international refiners and alternative fuels developers (including biofuels and coal-to-liquids promoters) need to understand that historic gasoline growth in the world’s biggest market – the U.S. – is just that: history.
In a study (AM-09-57) presented to National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) annual meeting here this month, KBC Advanced Technologies senior staff consultant Mark Routt stated bluntly:
“Our view is that U.S. gasoline demand peaked in 2007, and the industry is facing a period of weakening demand and increasing displacement of conventional gasoline by ethanol.”
While gasoline spot prices in the U.S. in recent weeks show a premium to middle distillate – a phenomenon not seen in years – the diesel premium to gasoline is likely to rebound soon.
So predicted Wood Mackenzie downstream head Alan Gelder in a study presentation to National Petrochemical & Refiners Association annual meeting here.
U.S. trucking industry financial analyst Longbow Research this month unveiled its latest estimate for the mostly diesel-powered U.S. freight sector over the next 3-6 months. The verdict: pessimism.
Longbow Research analyst Lee Klaskow cut his earnings estimate for the trucking universe, saying: “The continuation of the current environment of declining volumes and aggressive pricing is putting additional strains on truckload operators’ operating ratios and profitability.
The United Nations’ just-released “3rd UN World Water Development Report” shows that biofuels development could aggravate growing water shortages in many areas of the world.
The report would raise new questions about proposed expansion of algae ponds or more crop production for biodiesel, since these would require vast acreages and billions of gallons of fresh water to produce significant amounts of liquid motor fuel.
Here is what the report says about water and biofuels:
U.S. demand for diesel engines and related products is forecast to rise 6.2% annually to $19.5 billion in 2013, according to a new study by Cleveland-based Freedonia.
“Gains will be driven by the recovering U.S. heavy truck market. Rebounding consumer confidence and loosening credit standards will encourage truck fleet owners and managers to purchase new vehicles, virtually all of which are outfitted with diesel engines,” the study says.
Natural Resources Defense Council – one of the U.S.’s leading environmental advocacy groups – doesn’t see corn-ethanol figuring into the future of “low-carbon” fuels.
Ethanol from corn has been claimed as a substitute for crude-based fuel, but as a “green” fuel, “we don’t see corn ethanol as the future,” NRDC vehicles policy director Roland Hwang told the Hart World Fuels Conference here March 25.
The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) annual meeting kicked off here Sunday with renewed controversies over U.S. biofuels mandates.
Asked at a press conference about the current 36-billion gallon biofuels mandate in U.S. federal law, NPRA President Charlie Drevna said he doubts that such a mandate can be met.
Most of the U.S. biofuels mandate is predicted to be met by ethanol-gasoline blending, with the remainder including biodiesel/renewable diesel blending in diesel fuel.
Around the world of Diesel
Diesel Emissions-Control Companies Tout Readiness to Help Fleets Apply for $300 Million U.S. ‘DERA’ Federal Grants:
US Dept. of Energy (DOE), Delphi, Peterbilt Test Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) on Diesel Truck for Auxiliary Power:
Diesel output and stocks started to fall in late March, with the result that prices started to rebound.
Meantime, in major diesel spot and futures markets around the world, here’s what happened last week:
New York spot ULSD rose to $1.52/gallon as crude began to rebound. Diesel’s short-lived discount to gasoline has disappeared, as New York spots showed.
Platts Diesel & Distillates conference takes place in Houston, May 14-15, and is sponsored by Hart’s Diesel Fuel News.
Attendees will learn about:
• Market outlook for diesel relative to the rest of the barrel;
• How refiners are adjusting operations to increase diesel capacity.
Joining a parade of catalyst and refinery technology vendors aiming to help refiners boost diesel output and cut surplus gasoline, BASF Catalysts announced March 25 the commercial launch of ”HDXtra” catalyst.
The catalyst, combined with optimized operating conditions, enables refiners’ to increase light-cycle oil yield up to a 10% volume increase, “with nearly half of the benefit attributable to catalyst selectivity,” BASF said.
While ultra-low sulfur diesel (<15-ppm ULSD) has become the overwhelmingly dominant diesel fuel in North America – and will replace almost all other U.S. diesel by mid-2010 – attractive marketing to motorists is still lacking in the U.S. retail market.
One good example of this comes from a long-time Diesel Fuel News source that recently drove a brand-new, ultra-low-emissions Jetta TDI diesel car from Washington, D.C., to Boston.
“How about a story about the laggards at the retail level, from the consumer perspective?” this source suggested to us.
ASTM’s “E” (diesel fuel) subcommittee is balloting proposed changes to the D4737-04 test method for calculated cetane index by the “four variable equation.”
Rationale for the proposed change: Introduction of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) grades since the last test update, and a proposed exclusion of biodiesel blends for this test.
Calgary-based Connacher Oil & Gas this month reported a profitable 2008 despite wild crude-oil price swings and consequent negative impact on its 9,500 bbl/d heavy oil refinery, located in Great Falls, Montana.
The refinery “made respectable progress through a challenging economic period in 2008,” Connacher said.
While the mystery continues over whether certain types of ULSD are to blame for deposits in diesel common-rail injectors, one of the world’s biggest diesel fuel additives makers is touting what it calls “Greenclean” detergent.
Syntroleum announced March 16 that it received $13 million in technology transfer down payments, sufficient to fund operations and equity required to complete the “Dynamic Fuels” renewable diesel project in Louisiana.
“The Dynamic Fuels Geismar [La.] facility remains on budget and on schedule for mechanical completion by the end of 2009 and plant start-up beginning in early 2010,” Syntroleum said.
Volvo Trucks touted its urea-selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system over exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) for 2010 U.S. EPA heavy-duty diesel nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions limits, claiming better fuel economy and no ”active” diesel particulate filter (DPF) regeneration.
”In-cylinder methods to decrease NOx for EPA 2010, such as massive EGR, reduce fuel economy while also being incompatible with passive DPF regeneration,” Volvo said.
Engine and automakers would be partly encouraged and partly discouraged by the global diesel fuel qualities discovered in the latest Infineum Worldwide Diesel Fuel Quality Survey.
The survey, done in 2008, includes 256 samples from 39 countries in winter months.
On the upside: Sulfur reduction in diesel fuel is making progress in much of the world. “This year, over two-thirds of the countries surveyed produced diesel with an average of less-than 50-ppm sulfur, and even more impressively, almost half of the countries surveyed averaged less than 15-ppm,” Infineum found.
Navistar announced that it will reaffirm its profit guidance for fiscal 2009 “despite projections of a continued weak domestic [U.S.] truck market.
Because of sagging fuel prices and the high cost of meeting California “zero-emissions” vehicle offset requirements, Nissan may postpone its plans for a diesel-powered Maxima sedan in the North American market.
“We haven’t reached a decision on the diesel yet, but we have to consider where we want to put our capital investments,” Automotive News quoted Larry Dominique, North American vice president for product planning, as saying. “We have to consider that the market for diesels will be too small to warrant the investment right now.”
Neste Oil announced it’s taking hydrotreated vegetable oil (“HVO”) sulfur-free renewable diesel into the Alliance for Synthetic Fuels in Europe – a group that until now only promoted Fischer-Tropsch gas-to-liquids (GTL) and biomass-to-liquids (BTL) diesel.
Idemitsu Kosan Co. announced development of an absorbent that removes sulfur from diesel, enabling hydrogen extraction for fuel cells.
According to a Nikkei news service report, “the company will now work with automakers to develop a diesel reformer that can be attached to large vehicles like trucks and trailers. This would enable diesel oil to be used both as the engine fuel and as the hydrogen source for fuel cells.”
Liquid-fuels conversion of just a part of the trillions of barrels of oil shale in the U.S. and elsewhere might go a long way toward reducing dependence on crude oil from unstable nations, while helping to meet growing middle distillate demand.
But critics point to potentially huge impact on water resources or other land-use environmental problems with oil-shale development, as occurred with the first oil-shale schemes of nearly 30 years ago.
In a joint statement released during the Mid-American Trucking Show this month, the North American SCR Stakeholders Group claimed that urea-selective catalytic reduction (SCR) is the “only solution” to meeting U.S. EPA 2010 diesel heavy-duty highway trucking limits on nitrogen oxides (NOx.).
The claim contradicts Navistar’s plan to use exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) for 2010 NOx limits rather than SCR.