Washington, D.C., Oct 26, 2022 – The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) today released a new video highlighting the safety approach and measures used by U.S. refineries with hydrofluoric acid (HF) alkylation units. The video, entitled “Alkylation Safety & the Production of Cleaner Gasoline,” is especially timely as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering amendments to its Risk Management Plan (RMP) regulation that would place additional six-to-seven-figure regulatory requirements on refineries that use HF to produce alkylate.
Hosted by Tim Shepperd, an expert in alkylation safety with more than 30 years of refining industry experience, the video gives an on-the-ground look at HF alkylation units and, with live and modeled footage, shows the layers of safety systems and risk mitigation protocols employed by the U.S. refining industry to keep facility employees and contractors, community neighbors and the environment safe.
“In addition to being a highly regulated industry,” Shepperd notes in the video, “refiners have operations, teams and multiple layers of protective safety systems monitoring our HF units to keep our workforce and host communities safe… We are constantly reviewing and improving to ensure our industry is using the best science, technical data and resources. That’s because the safety of our employees and neighboring communities—where we live, work and send our kids and grandkids to school is the most important part of our work.”
Alkylate is a high-octane, low-sulfur fuel additive made by most U.S. refineries. It is key to manufacturing the cleanest possible gasoline, including California’s boutique gasoline blend. HF is one of two primary catalysts that refiners around the world use to produce alkylate. A refiner’s initial choice of alkylation catalyst is binding because alternative technologies are not interchangeable, and an alkylation unit designed around one catalyst will integrate differently with broader refinery operations than one designed around the other.
Both widely used catalysts, HF and sulfuric acid, present risks that refiners must manage. Risks specific to HF are exhaustively addressed and managed according to the guidance laid out in the American Petroleum Institute’s API Recommended Practice 751. This video covers some of the key RP 751 provisions and workplace approaches to HF safety.
The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) is the leading trade association representing the makers of the fuels that keep us moving, the petrochemicals that are the essential building blocks for modern life, and the midstream companies that get our feedstocks and products where they need to go. We make the products that make life better, safer and more sustainable — we make progress.