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Environment 

Valero makes significant environmental improvements, demonstrating its commitment to a cleaner environment.

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Refining Unit Environmental Stewardship: A Core Value
Valero has achieved significant emission reductions and made improvements in producing cleaner-burning gasoline, diesel and ethanol-blended fuels. For example:
  • Valero spent approximately $525 million to build a state-of-the-art flue-gas scrubber, one of the world's largest, at its Benicia Refinery in California that is slashing sulfur dioxide emissions by 95 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 55 percent.
  • The company has installed flare-gas recovery systems at its refineries to capture and gather a variety of routine gases that otherwise would be flared.
  • Since 2008, Valero has reduced flaring events more than 60 percent, criteria air emissions more than 45 percent and regulatory reportable spills to land or water by 60 percent.
  • Valero refineries reduced energy consumption to 0.42 million Btu per barrel of throughput in 2014, from 0.49 in 2008.

 

Focused on Alternative Energy, Technology

Valero understands the importance of pursuing alternative energy opportunities and using latest technologies to protect the environment.

  • Valero acquired 11 state-of-the-art ethanol plants, making it the first traditional refiner to enter large-scale production of ethanol. Click here to learn more about Valero's ethanol plants.
  • The company built a wind farm in the Texas Panhandle with 33 turbines and capacity to generate 50 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the McKee Refinery next door under optimum conditions and reducing reliance on conventional power sources.
  • Diamond Alternative Energy LLC, a Valero subsidiary, produces "green" diesel fuel from recycled animal fat, used cooking oil and corn oil, in partnership with Darling Ingredients Inc., at a 10,000-barrel-per-day unit at the St. Charles refinery.
  • Valero recovers oil from waste materials and reprocesses it through a method called coker recycle, transforming the oil into high-value fuel and avoiding transportation and disposal of the waste material. In 2014, Valero recycled 5,964 dry tons of this material.
  • Valero recycled 12.7 million pounds of spent refining catalyst material in 2014 that otherwise would be disposed in landfills as hazardous waste.
  • At Valero Pembroke Refinery in Wales, a $35 million upgrade of the sulfur recovery unit and conversion of the plant to natural gas reduced annual sulfur dioxide emissions by 3,000 metric tons. An alkylation process upgrade reduced annual spent caustic material generated by 2,700 metric tons.
  • Plant wastewater from the Three Rivers refinery is treated and provided to the oil and gas industry for reuse as fracking water in the Texas Eagle Ford shale area, reducing use of fresh water.
  • Valero is meeting the important challenge of  greenhouse-gas reduction through careful scientific, economic and technical analysis, and adoption of new technologies. View the company’s greenhouse-gas policy statement.
Wind turbine close-up
Recognized for Environmental Efforts
Valero values recognition for its environmental stewardship.
  • The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality presented the Environmental Leadership Program Award to the Valero St. Charles Refinery for its coker recycle method that recovers usable oil from waste materials and transforms it into high-value fuel, avoiding the transportation and disposal of waste.
  • The Louisiana Air & Waste Management Association presented the Joseph D. Martinez Environmental Achievement Award to St. Charles, also for its coker recycle process.
  • Quebec's recycling program, Recyc-Quebec, awarded a Silver Grade-level recognition to the Jean Gaulin refinery in 2014 for its efforts in recycling, and improved management and reduction of waste generation. The refinery reached an 88.9 percent waste-recovery rate.
  • The Texas City refinery won the Valero Chairman's Environmental Award for 2014, reducing its environmental scorecard incidents by 17 percent from 2013, and its baseline flaring 90 percent since 2008.
  • A Texas Environmental Excellence Award went to the Valero McKee Refinery for the company's wind farm, which operates as Sunray Wind, presented by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The 33-turbine, 50-megawatt wind farm is capable of powering the McKee Refinery, with any excess power going to a local utility. The wind farm won in the Technical/Technology category for reducing reliance on conventional power sources.
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Under its Environmental Justice policy, Valero has partnered with the Community In-power and Development Association Inc. (CIDA) in Port Arthur, Texas, to expand assistance to fence-line organizations, such as the nursing Program of Health Excellence Inc., and improve neighborhoods located near refineries.
Valero Environmental Awards & Honors