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Investing in environmental protection

Historically, our Baton Rouge Complex was one of the early leaders in installing the wet gas scrubber (1976) and the flare gas recovery system (1982), which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls the “hallmarks of pollution prevention for modern refineries.”

In October 2010, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge completed its commissioning of a new unit to produce ultra low sulfur diesel. Together with another new unit at ExxonMobil's Baytown refinery, both units will enable ExxonMobil to increase the supply of ultra low sulfur diesel by over 3 million gallons a day from the refineries, and allow for reduced emissions from diesel consumption when used in modern engines.

Wet gas scrubber

What does it do?

Located at the Refinery’s Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Unit, the wet gas scrubber uses water to capture particles that would otherwise go into the atmosphere by mixing gas with water to remove the pollutants. As an added benefit, the scrubber also reduces emissions of sulfur dioxide and ammonia.

How does it work?

High velocity jets add water to the gas coming from the Refinery’s CO furnaces, and the wet gas enters a separator drum. In the drum, the gas travels up, while the water carrying the pollutants travels down. On its way out of the stack, the “scrubbed” gas passes through a clean spray of water, which helps remove remaining solids, and then through a grid, which helps remove water droplets. Sensitive analyzers monitor the exiting gas to ensure the scrubbing process is working.

Some of the water is recirculated back to the wet gas scrubber to be used again. The rest of it is sent to the settling ponds where the pollutants from the water are removed or neutralized.

Sulfur recovery unit

What does it do?

The sulfur recovery unit collects and removes sulfur molecules from the gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other fuels produced at the Baton Rouge Refinery. Purification (treatment) is the last step of the refining process and is necessary in order to improve quality of our finished products. Sulfur is a natural component of crude oil.

Why is it important?

The goal of the sulfur recovery unit technology and processes is to minimize the sulfur content in refinery fuel products.

This is important for reducing vehicle emissions since sulfur is a catalyst poison for catalytic converters on vehicles. Catalytic converters are the primary method of reducing emissions from vehicle exhaust.

How does it work?

As a part of the refining process, the sulfur molecules are collected and directed to the sulfur recovery unit. There, several reactors and combustion devices convert the sulfur molecules into elemental sulfur.

The elemental sulfur is useful because it can be further converted into ammonium sulfate, a fertilizer.

Wastewater treatment facility

What does it do?

The Baton Rouge Refinery and the adjacent Chemical Plant each have wastewater treatment facilities that treat process wastewaters received from more than 50 miles of piping.

How does it work?

Primary treatment process consists of solids removal and neutralization which prepares the wastewater for biological treatment.

Secondary treatment is the biological degradation of soluble organic compounds by microorganisms, commonly referred to as the “bugs.”

After biotreatment, the microorganisms are separated from the water in a final clarification process, and the water is sampled as it is eventually discharged into the Mississippi River.

Far better than the permitted limits

The Baton Rouge Refinery and the Chemical Plant both have an excellent compliance record. The outflow to the Mississippi River not only meets the standards set by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) but is far better than the permitted limits.