Valero has taken initial steps towards the formation of a joint venture with Darling International to build a facility capable of producing 135 million gallons per year of renewable diesel on a site near Valero’s refinery in Norco.
As proposed, the facility would convert waste grease from animal fats and used cooking oil, which would be supplied by Darling, into diesel. Other feedstocks could also be used in the future.
Darling and Valero will seek to finance the project with a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which makes $8.5 billion of debt financing guarantees available for projects that employ innovative energy efficiency, renewable energy and advanced transmission and distribution technologies.
Valero spokesman Bill Day said that this move continues a series of investments that Valero has made into renewable and alternative energy companies. These companies include Solix, which is working on making biofuels from algae, ZeaChem and Qteros, which are working on cellulosic ethanol technologies, and Terrabon, which is developing a method to make synthetic gasoline from landfill waste.
“In addition, Valero purchased seven ethanol plants in the Midwest earlier this year that generate 780 million gallons of ethanol per year, and we built a 50-megawatt wind farm at our refinery in the Texas Pandhandle,” Day said.
Darling International CEO Randall Stuewe said that Darling’s low-cost feedstocks combined with Valero’s experience as a petroleum refinery has the potential to create a biofuel facility geared towards meeting America’s growing renewable energy demands.
“We want to caution our investors that we are still in the early phases of this potential project, with much remaining to be done before we enter into final, binding agreements,” Stuewe added.