A Louisiana plant that turns animal fats, used cooking oil and other waste grease into diesel fuel hit capacity this week in its startup phase. This article in The Advocate in Baton Rouge says the Diamond Green Diesel plant, a joint venture between Darling International Inc. and Valero Energy Corp., can now produce about 9,300 barrels per day of biodiesel and will get more reliable after a heat exchanger is changed out.
Diamond Green’s website says it expects to convert about 1.1 billion pounds of fat and restaurant grease into 137 million gallons of green diesel per year — an estimated 9,300 barrels per day.
At that rate, the company would be converting up to 11 percent of the country’s animal fat and used cooking oil into a fuel that has the same properties as petroleum diesel.
The project follows two years of planning and development after the U.S. Department of Energy said it would back a $241 million loan guarantee to help build the plant, which the agency said would create about 60 jobs.
Darling International Inc. of Irving, Texas, supplies the feedstock for the plant. The company recycles beef, poultry and pork by-products into useable ingredients such as tallow, feed-grade fats, meat and bone meal, poultry meal and hides. The company also recovers and converts used cooking oil and commercial bakery residuals into feed and fuel ingredients.
The plant, located right next to Valero’s St. Charles refinery, started operations earlier this summer.