Enhancing knowledge, skills and capabilities through our Boiler Improvement Project
Taking care of our team is central to living our purpose — providing trusted energy that enhances people's lives, while caring for each other and the earth. Training is an important part of how we take care of our team. As we shared in our improvement plan, we are enhancing training at the Commerce City Refinery, most recently as part of a larger project that included implementing the latest technology to help reduce emissions and improve our performance.
Over the past two-and-a-half years, we have worked to improve one of our existing boilers in Plant 1, retrofitting it with two new “ultra-low NOx" (nitrogen oxides) burners. The boiler converts water to steam to help power equipment and control process temperatures, and the new burners reduce NOx emissions by changing the shape and temperature of the flame.
The project was a significant undertaking, requiring a $10.8 million (USD) investment. More than 50 Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. team members and several outside organizations with expertise in engineering, maintenance, training, construction and operations contributed over 55,000 hours of work. But, most importantly, we also invested in training to provide our team with the right knowledge, skills and capabilities.
Jacob Taylor, a training specialist who has led safety training at the Commerce City Refinery for nearly five years, created specialized materials and held classes for the staff involved. The training included formal instruction, dedicated sessions on the equipment and opportunities for staff from different areas to collaborate and learn from one another.
“Training for this project was extensive and hands-on, which was essential for our team to trust one another and be confident working together and with the boiler,” said Taylor.
The improved boiler is projected to reduce NOx emissions by approximately 121.9 tons per year. All five gaseous fuel-fired boilers at the refinery are now equipped with ultra-low NOx burner technology to deliver significant emissions reductions. These emissions reductions also support Colorado’s efforts to reduce regional haze.
“We are proud of our team’s commitment to continuous improvement and the utilization of operator training to help the boiler reach the highest standard to reduce emissions,” said Clarke Stoesz, operations, maintenance, and technical lead of capital projects at the refinery. “We are dedicated to providing our team the knowledge and education needed to safely and confidently make environmental improvements that allow the refinery to supply Colorado with quality, reliable and affordable energy.”
We will continue to foster a people-focused culture built on trust and confidence. Providing comprehensive training enables our employees to safely work together to complete these types of projects. Learn more about the boiler project from Milagros Wallace, project manager, in the video below.