When people think of South Dakota, assuming they think of the state at all, they probably remember the Black Hills, or Mount Rushmore. That may soon change. The largest supplier of crude oil to the United States is Canada and the majority of that oil comes from the oil sands of Alberta. Hyperion Resources has just begun the process of getting approval to build a new oil refinery in Elk Point, South Dakota specifically to process that oil. The first phase of the Hyperion Energy Center is planned to refine 400,000 barrels of oil sands crude per day. The plant will produce ultra-low-sulfur gasoline and diesel fuels.

The refinery is designed to be highly integrated, re-processing many of byproducts of the refining process to produce other necessary inputs. For example, petroleum coke from the distillation process will be used to make hydrogen, electricity and steam. The refinery is also being designed to incorporate the latest pollution control technology as well as carbon capture and sequestration. Construction of the $10 billion facility is expected to start in 2009, with full operation starting in 2014-15.

As advanced as this refinery might be, just imagine what new non-fossil fuel technology could be created with that $10 billion.

[Source: Hyperion Resources, thanks to Mark for the tip]

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