What is pet coke?
Petroleum (pet) coke is a fuel produced using the byproducts of the petroleum refining process. Crude oil must be refined to produce gasoline and other products. A residue is left over from this process that can be further refined by “coking” it at high temperatures and under great pressure. The resulting product is pet coke, a hard substance that is similar to coal. Pet coke, like coal, is used by other electric utilities such as JEA and Lakeland. And pet coke has a much higher heating value than coal, at around 14,000 Btu per pound, compared with 12,500 Btu per pound for coal. That means, compared with coal, less pet coke needs to be burned to create the same amount of heat.
Is pet coke an affordable fuel?
Yes. Pet coke does not have to be mined or produced as a separate product. Being the byproduct of another process makes it relatively inexpensive. Typically, it costs even less than coal, making it one of the most affordable fuels available to the electric generating industry.
What about risks from emissions?
When handled with the appropriate emission reduction and combustion technologies, the risks associated with pet coke can be minimized to within levels that have been deemed safe for even the most susceptible people. Plants using pet coke must meet the same environmental standards as those burning coal.
Is there an adequate supply of pet coke in this part of the world?
Yes. Most of the pet coke produced in the world comes from the western hemisphere, and supplies are expected to increase in the coming years.