Nation’s first large-scale renewable diesel plant reopens under new owner

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 21, 2014

The first large-scale renewable diesel facility in the United States is up and running again, new owner Renewable Energy Group Inc. announced yesterday.

REG marked the startup of the facility in Geismar, La., yesterday with a grand-opening event after beginning initial production Oct. 14. At full capacity, the biorefinery will be able to produce 75 million gallons a year of renewable diesel, a type of biofuel that can be used directly in existing fuel infrastructure, out of animal fats, corn oil and used cooking oil.

The facility will use a technology developed by a subsidiary of REG in Tulsa, Okla. Along with renewable diesel, the biorefinery is capable of producing naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas, REG said.

REG acquired the former Dynamic Fuels LLC facility in June from Tyson Foods Inc. and Syntroleum Corp., which formed Dynamic in 2007 as a 50-50 joint venture.

While the former owners completed construction of the plant, they idled operation in late 2012 for maintenance and upgrade. By the end of fiscal 2013, the plant had incurred net operating losses of approximately $38 million, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“We are pleased with the progress made and will continue to build upon our success with future planned upgrades to the plant,” Derek Winkel, REG executive director of manufacturing operations, said in a statement.

REG is the nation’s largest biodiesel producer and has recently expanded into several new markets, including renewable diesel, detergents and personal care, and petroleum-based heating oil and diesel.