Valero, Darling look into doubling biodiesel capacity in Norco

$190M expansion underway for mid-2018 startup

Valero Energy Corp. and Darling Ingredients are studying the feasibility of doubling “biodiesel” production at their Norco facility.

The refinery, called Diamond Green Diesel (DGD), is already in an estimated $190 million expansion expected to be operational by mid-2018.

“The current 275 million capacity expansion will result in a small increment of employees,” said Valero spokeswoman Lillian Riojas.

Riojas said it’s too early to anticipate employment growth that could come with the possible latest expansion since Valero and Darlilng just announced the start of the review.

Valero CEO Joe Gorder said a final decision on the move is anticipated in 2018.

If approved by the companies and regulators, the proposed expansion would be built on property owned by Valero and become operational in the first half of 2021.

In March, plans are to increase the facility’s annual production from 160 million gallons to 275 million gallons of renewable diesel fuel, representing a 70 percent capacity increase, according to the earnings statement.

The diesel is made from recycled animal fat, used cooking oil and other feedstocks.

Federal law has pushed biodiesel demand to meet requirements on a renewable fuel standard, as well as with international customers required to lower carbon emissions.

Darling Chairman and CEO Randall C. Stuewe called DGD “a shining star in our portfolio of ingredients.”

The refinery started production on Sept. 15, 2014.The expansion will also include expanded outbound logistics for servicing the many developing low carbon fuel markets around North America and the globe.

According to DGD, the plant is currently capable of annually converting approximately 1.3 billion pounds of fat into more than 150 million gallons of renewable “green” diesel.

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