The Ethical Side of Renewable Diesel
Renewable energy, or biofuels, may be only one way that Darling contributes to the “greening of America,” but in the past few years it has become the most talked about use for our recycled grease. As the world’s energy resources decline, the opportunity to use our yellow grease and tallow as a renewable energy source has become even more economically feasible and environmentally desirable.
In the fall of 2010, Darling announced a 50/50 joint venture with Valero Energy Corporation to build a refinery near Norco, LA capable of annually converting 1.1 billion pounds of fat into 136.7 million gallons of renewable green diesel, or an estimated 9,300 barrels/day. Darling has long considered various means of entering the alternative fuel market; Diamond Green Diesel is our solution to, produce a renewable fuel of high standards with economic feasibility.
Renewable (or green) diesel is a true hydrocarbon just like diesel fuel, which has a different molecular structure from the biodiesel predominately produced today. Because of this structural difference, green diesel can be distributed using the current petroleum distribution system (pipeline), while biodiesel requires truck or rail transport. Additionally, green diesel has no cold flow issues and won’t thicken and clog engines in cold weather as may happen with biodiesel.
Scheduled to begin production in first quarter 2013, Diamond Green Diesel will consume approximately 11% of our nation’s waste animal fats and greases. We believe that the combination of Darling’s ability to provide low-cost carbon-friendly feedstocks, and Valero’s experience as North America’s largest independent petroleum refiner and marketer, has the potential to create a sustainable biofuel facility that can meet America’s growing renewable energy demands.
At this time, the project is awaiting the finalization of financing arrangements. In addition to using our recycled grease and oils in the development of biofuel, we also use our yellow grease as fuel for several of our facilities
Griffin Industries, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Darling International since the beginning of 2011, has been a pioneer in biofuel production, operating the longest continuously running facility in the US producing biodiesel derived from animal fats and recycled restaurant grease. Bio G-3000, VersaGen and Fat for Fuel are our alternative fuel products available for use today as replacements for diesel fuel, natural gas or as a blending component for petroleum diesel.
Bio-fuels wont necessarily cure the U.S. of our dependency on foreign oil, but it's one piece in the puzzle of solving that dependency. Darling’s role in bio-fuel production and renewable energy is still being studied, but it, along with other promising uses for our products, will be developed while we continue to provide the services and process the same material that we have for the past century.
As appealing as it is for the world to find efficient alternatives to petroleum fuel, using grains as raw stock in biodiesel production has faced challenges. The “food for fuel” debate claims these grains should go to feed third world countries rather than be used to produce fuel, and more recently, studies suggest the sudden rush to clear forested land to plant grains for biofuel production is actually increasing greenhouse gas emissions rather than lowering them.
Rendered fats offer a perfect feedstock for the production of alternative fuels and a way around these challenges. Because its raw stock is recycled from collected food waste products, the biofuels produced from rendered grease will not diminish the food supply and does not require fertile land space be cleared to produce it.
Renewable energy and biofuels won’t necessarily cure the U.S. of our dependency on foreign oil, but it's one piece in the puzzle of solving that dependency. Darling’s role in alternative fuel production and renewable energy, along with other promising uses for our products, will be developed while we continue to provide the services and process the same material that we have for the past century.