Electric Vehicles, the Humber Refinery and a Lower Carbon Transportation Future.
The internet is awash with origin stories that baffle and bemuse and the definitive source of ‘Did you know…’ dinner party openers. And at Phillips 66 Limited (and more specifically the Humber Refinery), we have some unexpected revelations of our own that will surprise many.
The UK’s road fleet is becoming increasingly diverse as electric vehicle (EV) demand accelerates and new and potentially revolutionary technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, emerge and renewable transport fuels become more available.
At the Humber Refinery, we produce something called ‘speciality coke’ which is a solid, high purity, concentrated carbon material and a critical mineral in the production of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars and consumer electronics.
Did you know the Humber Refinery is Europe’s only producer of speciality coke? The relationship between EVs and the Humber Refinery speciality coke production is surprising and intriguing – it is something we, at Phillips 66 Limited, are immensely proud (and protective) of. Furthermore, the Humber Refinery produces enough speciality coke to put 1.3 million EVs on the road every year.
So how does it work?
Well, like all great products – the formula for our speciality coke is a closely guarded secret(!). However, what we can reveal is that to produce this product, the refinery processes conventional crude oil together with some waste materials such as used cooking oil, to produce the speciality coke. Heating and cooling, increasing and decreasing pressure, distilling, purifying at different points through the refinery until it turns into a solid. It then undergoes further processing to produce synthetic graphite which is a product that is used in EV batteries worldwide to store the lithium-ions when the battery is charged and then released to provide the energy to run EVs. Not only that, but the speciality graphite produced at the refinery may well be in your smartphone battery too.
Graphite is a hugely important material for battery production in the EV transition, and we think it’s pretty cool that we are making this critical product here in the UK from conventional and waste feedstocks.
And that’s not all!
Changes to the vehicles we drive will mean a change to the forecourts that facilitate and maintain our road trips. This will require new and diversified energy offerings to support the drivers of zero-emission vehicles, plus new lower-carbon fuels. Earlier this year, we successfully launched JET Charge in three company-owned dealer operated sites with 150 kw ultra-rapid charging and simple, straightforward pay-as-you-go with no minimum charge.*
We are excited about the role Phillips 66 Limited is seeking to play in a rapidly transitioning energy landscape.
*For clarification of charge output categorisation please see Chapter 2 “How electric vehicles are charged” and Table 1: Final report – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).