Valero to produce fat-based green diesel

The green blogger is certainly familiar with US tallow and grease producer Darling International given that she pestered them every week between the year 2000 and 2006 for pricing information. Hopefully, their new venture into the renewable diesel market with oil company Valero Energy (via its subsidiary) will work out.

According to Darling, the joint venture plans to build a 135 million gallons/year renewable diesel production facility on a site adjacent to Valero’s St. Charles refinery in Louisiana. The plant will use waste grease and maybe other feedstock.

Now you might be wondering what brought this on given that biofuels are still slightly struggling in the marketplace. But the renewable energy funding and loans from the US Department of Energy is making sure biofuels investments are still on track and the Darling-Valero joint venture is taking advantage of it.

The companies, however, did not indicate how much loan they’re getting from the DOE.

This is not the first time that oil companies are collaborating with animal fats producers for producing renewable diesel. ConocoPhillips and chicken fat producer Tyson announced their joint venture in 2007 to produce renewable diesel as well. Unfortunately, ConocoPhillips suspended the project in late 2008 because of unfavorable economics and lowered federal tax credits.

ConocoPhillips said it will continue to monitor economic conditions to determine whether resuming production becomes feasible. Tyson, meanwhile, is still going ahead with its 75m gal/year biofuels plant in Louisiana in joint venture with another oil company Syntroleum. The plant will start up in 2010.

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