- Petcoke is a byproduct created when bitumen found in tar sands, is refined into crude oil.
- High grade petcoke which is low in sulphur and heavy metals can be used to make electrodes for the steel and aluminum industry. But the majority of petcoke manufactured globally, approximately 75-80%, is of a much lower grade, containing higher levels of sulphur and heavy metals and is used solely as fuel.
- Petcoke is an extremely stable fuel which means there is little risk of combustion during transportation, but due to its high carbon content when it does combust it releases up to 10% more CO2 per unit of energy that normal coal.
- That’s higher than almost any other energy source in existence and makes petcoke a huge contributor to the creation of greenhouse gases.
- Despite the environmental concerns connected to the manufacture and use of petcoke, it remains popular due its cost effectiveness. It’s inexpensive to manufacture yet easily exported, and provides an attractive source of cheap fuel for developing nations.
- U.S. oil refineries that are unable to sell a dirty, fuel waste product at home are exporting vast quantities of it to India instead.
- Petroleum coke, the bottom-of-the-barrel leftover from refining Canadian tar sands crude and other heavy oils, is cheaper and burns hotter than coal. But it also contains more planet-warming carbon and far more heart- and lung-damaging sulphur, a key reason few American companies use it.