New scrubber to loom over Cheyenne oil and gas refinery, cut emissions

MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press
Steve Reynolds, capital projects manager talks to reporters at the base of a $30 million scrubber at the HollyFrontier refinery during a press tour on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 in Cheyenne, Wyo. The scrubber will stand 177 feet high, taller than the Wyoming Capitol, and will help the refinery meet upcoming emissions standards. The scrubber will be installed in May. (AP Photo/Mead Gruver)
Copyright , The Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The skyline of Cheyenne is about to change with the addition of a huge new piece of pollution control equipment at a refinery that will stand taller than the Wyoming Capitol.

The $30 million wet scrubber is now lying on its side at the HollyFrontier refinery. The device resembles a spacecraft or a submarine from the Jules Verne era.

Next month, an enormous crane will set the scrubber upright to a height of 177 feet, making it easily among the tallest structures in Cheyenne. The Capitol building a couple miles northwest of the refinery is 146 feet high.

The crane itself will require weeks of assembly ahead of the relatively straightforward job of hoisting the 243,000-pound scrubber upright onto a concrete pad 4 feet thick.

The goal is to meet federal air pollution standards set to take effect later this year. The scrubber will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 60 percent and smelly sulfur dioxide emissions 75 percent, refinery officials said Wednesday.

"This project will help to reduce odor from the refinery," said Steve Reynolds, the refinery's capital projects manager.

The scrubber will work in part by forcing emissions through 16 screens of water sprayed through eight nozzles. The scrubber will circulate 5,800 gallons of water per minute, according to Dallas-based HollyFrontier.

A relatively small amount of water will escape through the top as steam.

"It's a good thing. It's water vapor and it means the scrubber is working," refinery manager Mike Achacoso said.

The scrubber also will capture 85 percent of particulate emissions from the refinery's fluid catalytic cracker, which produces gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

HollyFrontier expects the scrubber to be fully operational in September.

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