Publication Details

Title : Creation of unit process data for life cycle assessment of steam methane reforming and petroleum refining
Publication Date : October 24, 2017
Authors : B. Young, B. Morelli, T. Hawkins
Abstract : This study provides detailed, baseline gate-to-gate unit process data for petroleum refining and hydrogen production. The datasets improve the resolution of the environmental releases attributable to specific processes involved in petroleum refining and steam methane reforming (SMR) and the attribution of releases to the products of refineries. These datasets are intended for use in life cycle assessment studies and will be implemented in the GREET software tool. These data are important for understanding the impacts of products and transportation options that use pure hydrogen and the products derived from refined petroleum. It also provides detail to allow resource use and environmental releases to be attributed in a more defensible manner to refinery products and hydrogen produced by SMR.

A distinguishing feature of the approach proposed here is the creation of estimates based on a comprehensive inventory of emissions reported by facilities including subprocess detail. The activity factors provided here allow for the calculation of emissions and resource use associated with individual processes within the steam methane reforming facility and the petroleum refinery, and the use of reported data inclusive of all processes within the refinery provides coverage of all relevant aspects. This approach allows for validation of results by providing comprehensiveness, sub-facility level detail, and proper attribution of releases and resource use to products. The insights and datasets created in this project are useful for considering modifications to the processes used to produce hydrogen and petroleum derived products and for characterizing a wide variety of product and transportation systems.

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