Biobased Diesel Magazine Summer 2022

Page 1

Summer 2022

Project Complete


Crimson Renewable Energy’s New RepCat Biodiesel Plant Comes Online in Bakersfield

Going Rogue

One Man Fights the Global SAF Movement


Fabricating a Future

Smisson-Mathis Energy Rolls Out Brown Grease Biodiesel Business Model


Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022


PRSRT-STD US Postage PAID Post Falls, ID PERMIT # 32

Process Pumping Solutions

as Green as your Feedstock PROCESS CHEMICAL SERVICES





■ Safety by Design ■ True Secondary Containment ■ Increased Reliability ■ Real-time Condition Monitoring ■ Zero Emissions ■ Low Total Cost of Ownership ■ Space-Saving Design

215-343-6000 [2]

HVO Pre-treatment technologies Proven, highly reliable and efficient plants processing multiple feedstock and providing you with high standard end-product Why Desmet Ballestra? ■

75 years of worldwide industrial experience in refining technologies for vegetable oils & fats

First HVO pre-treatment plant in operation since 2012

Trusted partner of major HVO producing companies

10+ HVO pre-treatment plants in operation or under construction worldwide Dedicated R&D support and competence

Global solutions provider

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022




ADVERTISERS: For advertising sales please call 218-745-8347, email or visit our website at




EDITOR AND PUBLISHER: Ron Kotrba GRAPHIC DESIGN: Doug Conboy Raised Brow Productions MAGAZINE PRINTING: Century Publishing

Biobased DieselTM is published by RonKo Media Productions LLC. Subscriptions are free of charge to those in the United States. To subscribe, visit and fill out the contact form in the website footer. For subscribers outside the United States, a digital version of the magazine will be emailed. For those located outside the United States who wish to have a print version of Biobased DieselTM mailed, please email editor@biobased-diesel. com with the request. A nominal postage fee may be required. For mail correspondence, write to: RonKo Media Productions PO Box 86 Warren, MN 56762 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be transmitted or reproduced in any form without written permission from the publishers. The information contained within has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on this material. Appropriate professional advice should be sought before making personal, professional, or financial decisions. Outside of our staff authors, articles written by providers or professionals are invited authors and represent the opinions of that particular individual, business, group or organization.

©Copyright 2022 RonKo Media Productions LLC



Fabricating a Future for Biodiesel.....36

After years of development, Tactical Fabrication and Smisson-Mathis Energy are ready to roll out their all-inclusive, turnkey biodiesel production business model to the world. By Ron Kotrba

Going Rogue.........................................42

Neutral Fuels’ founder Karl W. Feilder speaks out against a world rapidly adopting sustainable aviation fuel as the only solution to help green the aviation sector today. By Ron Kotrba

Departments Editor’s Note.......................... 6 News..................................... 10 Information......................... 16 Perspective.......................... 18

Advertiser Index Advanced Fuel Solutions Inc...................21 American Lung Association......................9 BDI-BioEnergy International GmbH..........48 Biobased Diesel Daily®..................... 6, 34 Biodiesel Coalition of Missouri................13 Clean Fuels Alliance America........... 29, 40 Crown Iron Works....................................8

Desmet Ballestra....................................3 Diesel Technology Forum.......................25 Evonik Corp............................................4 Frazier, Barnes & Associates LLC............47 HERO BX..............................................14 Imerys...................................................7 Inflectis Digital Marketing.......................35

Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council...12 Ocean Park..........................................19 Plasma Blue.........................................23 R.W. Heiden Associates LLC...................15 Tactical Fabrication LLC.........................41 Teikoku USA Inc......................................2 Topsoe.................................................27

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022



A 20-YEAR SUCCESS STORY Twenty years ago, Minnesota became a trailblazer in biodiesel policy by passing the first-ever state biodiesel mandate in 2002. The accomplishment was the result of years of work by many groups, perhaps most notably the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the farmers of which the organization is comprised, and by which it is led. Interesting tales abound of farmers and farmer-leaders making dozens of trips to Saint Paul with soybean growers lining the walls of hearing rooms, a few of which I included my recent book, The Birth of American Biodiesel. Three years later, in 2005, the Minnesota biodiesel mandate took effect. It began as a 2 percent requirement that eventually bumped up to 5, 10, and then 20 percent, where it stands today—in the warmer months of April through September, reverting back to 5 percent in the colder season. Other states followed, with their own versions of incentives, mandates or clean fuel standards. Just this spring, two states— Iowa and Illinois—doubled down on biodiesel legislation, which is further discussed on page 12 in the news section. These legislative efforts were driven, once again, by state soybean associations and their farmer-leaders and members. In this tumultuous time of energy insecurity, global-power realignment and the reemergence of the dangers associated


with depending on hostile foreign governments for fuel—much like the way things were 20 years ago when Minnesota passed the first state biodiesel mandate in the U.S.—it is comforting to know nations have the ability to grow, collect or recover renewable materials in perpetuity to satisfy a growing portion of their fuel requirements. There will always be some people who oppose government mandates of any sort. Others will continue to propagate the food-versus-fuel fallacy. And others yet will say, “If it’s not electrification, then it’s a waste of time.” These detractors are entitled to their opinions. But while they think up ways to thwart your progress, the world’s farmers, livestock producers, renderers and grease collectors remain busy growing and recovering the food, feed and fuel our global society needs to keep moving forward.

Ron Kotrba Editor and Publisher

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022


Give your hydrotreater catalyst more life.


Crown delivers maximum contaminant removal to extend hydrotreater catalyst life. Get the cleanest possible feedstock delivered to your hydrotreater and achieve up to double catalyst life with Crown. Our rugged, robust RD Ready ™ Pretreatment System is guaranteed to meet product specs for all common contaminants and drastically improve plant uptime by reducing the need for catalyst changeovers. Backed by the construction of 50+ biodiesel plants, design of 10+ renewable diesel pretreatment plants, and a propriety database of feedstock specs and results, Crown’s RD Ready™ Pretreatment System protects your investment now, and in the future. Protect your hydrotreater and your Renewable Diesel operation with Crown.

Edible Oils | Biodiesel | Renewable Diesel | Oleochemical [8]

Contact Crown today 1-651-639-8900 or visit our website at

Clean Fuels. Clean Future. Biodiesel, Renewable Diesel, and Sustainable Aviation Fuel Providing a Healthier and Cleaner Future, TODAY.

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022



Sustainable Aviation Fuel News Briefs Offtake agreements, project development and deliveries demonstrate the sector’s growth. This spring, United has become the first U.S. airline to sign an international purchase agreement for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The new agreement with Neste Corp. provides United the right to buy up to 52.5 million gallons over the next three years for United flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, and potentially other airports as well. By the end of 2023, Neste will be capable of producing 515 million gallons per year (mgy) of SAF. [BBD] -----------------------------OMV and Associated Energy Group LLC are working together to distribute SAF produced by OMV in Austria at Vienna International Airport. The SAF is produced at the OMV Schwechat Refinery by coprocessing regional used cooking oil (UCO). [BBD] -----------------------------Aemetis Inc. has signed offtake agreements for sale of blended SAF (40 percent) with several airlines recently, including JetBlue for 125 million gallons over a 10-year term, Finnair for 17.5 million gallons, Qantas Group and Qantas Airlines for 35 million gallons over a seven-year term, and Japan Airlines for 90 million gallons over a seven-year term. All deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2025. The fuel is expected to be produced at Aemetis’ Riverbank, California, facility once it is completed. [BBD] -----------------------------Total Energies and Eneos Corp. are jointly conducting a feasibility study to assess SAF production at Eneos’ Negishi Refinery in Yokohama, Japan. The proposed unit, scaled at 100 mgy, would process waste or residue including UCO and animal fat. The two companies are considering establishing a new joint venture to produce SAF. [BBD] -----------------------------Airbus has begun delivery of all aircraft from its U.S. manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama, with a blend of SAF from World Energy. So far, American Airlines, Breeze Airways, Delta Air Lines and Spirit Airlines have taken delivery of Airbus aircraft with SAF on board. [BBD] -----------------------------British Airways recently took delivery of the first batch of SAF produced by Phillips 66 Ltd.’s Humber Refinery near Immingham in the U.K. British Airways will add it into the existing pipeline infrastructure that directly feeds several U.K. airports, including London Heathrow. The SAF bought by the airline will be enough to reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by almost 100,000 tons. [BBD]

-----------------------------Total Energies began coprocessing SAF at its Normandy platform in France early this year. This new site complements SAF production capacities of its La Mède biorefinery (Bouches-duRhône) and Oudalle plant (Seine-Maritime) in France. This move enables Total Energies to meet demand from its customers and France’s 1 percent SAF mandate now in effect. Total Energies will also produce SAF at its Grandpuits zero-crude platform southeast of Paris starting in 2024. [BBD] -----------------------------Oriental Energy Company Ltd. is building a 340 mgy SAF plant in Maoming, China, in southwestern Guangdong province. The project will be built in two phases and involves two production units that will process UCO and animal fat feedstock. Oriental Energy Company will use Honeywell UOP Ecofining™ process technology for SAF manufacturing. [BBD] -----------------------------BP has been coprocessing UCO with petroleum crude since February at its refinery in Lingen, Germany, to make SAF. The BP plant in Lingen is the first industrial production site in Germany to use this process for SAF production. BP aspires to achieve a 20 percent SAF market share worldwide. [BBD] -----------------------------Shell said earlier this year that it had become the first supplier of SAF to customers in Singapore. The company also completed facility upgrades in Singapore to enable SAF blending. Shell’s ambition is to produce approximately 675 mgy of SAF globally by 2025. [BBD] -----------------------------LanzaJet has entered into an agreement with Marquis Sustainable Aviation Fuel to construct a 120 mgy SAF and renewable diesel plant using the LanzaJet™ Alcohol-to-Jet process. The project will be located in the Marquis Industrial Complex in Hennepin, Illinois, two hours southwest of Chicago. [BBD] -----------------------------Startup Indaba Renewable Fuels LLC plans to develop two greenfield biorefineries, one in Missouri and the other in California, using Haldor Topsoe’s HydroFlex™ technology to produce SAF. Production is anticipated to begin in 2024 with combined SAF volumes from both facilities topping out at 154 mgy. [BBD] -----------------------------ExxonMobil and Neste Corp. are partnering to commercially distribute Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ at the largest airports in France. The measure to distribute the 30 percent SAF blend was taken to meet France’s new SAF mandate. [BBD]

-----------------------------Gevo Inc. has signed a “take-or-pay” agreement with Delta Air Lines Inc. to supply 75 mgy of SAF for seven years, replacing a previous agreement signed for 10 mgy. Gevo expects its SAF production to begin in 2025. [BBD] -----------------------------Neste Corp. is providing DHL Express with nearly 106 million gallons of SAF over the next five years. The agreement is Neste’s largest SAF deal to date. Neste and DHL have been working together since 2020. [BBD] [10]

SAF coprocessed at OMV’s Schwechat Refinery in Austria is being distributed at Vienna International Airport in cooperation with Associated Energy Group. PHOTO: OMV

Renewable Diesel News Briefs Project development, partnerships, and M&A activity continue to monopolize the news cycle.

Neste Corp. and Marathon Petroleum Corp. are establishing a 50/50 joint venture (JV) for Marathon’s refinery-conversion project in Martinez, California. The project is expected to begin producing renewable diesel later this year with 260 million gallons a year (mgy) of capacity and 730 mgy with pretreatment capability in late 2023. Neste will contribute $1 billion to the JV. Total project cost is $1.2 billion. Marathon will manage project execution and operate the facility. Both companies will be responsible for sourcing feedstock. Production volumes will be split and marketed under their respective brands. [BBD] -----------------------------Phillips 66 Co. made a final investment decision to move forward with Rodeo Renewed, the project to fully convert its San Francisco Refinery to produce 800 mgy of renewable diesel and other biofuels. The $850 million project received approval from Contra Costa County and is expected to begin production in 2024. [BBD] -----------------------------Parkland Corp. plans to spend $462 million to increase coprocessing at its Burnaby Refinery in British Columbia, Canada, to roughly 80 mgy and build a 94 mgy standalone renewable diesel complex on-site. The projects will cost $462 million. A final investment decision will come next year with production expected in 2026. [BBD] -----------------------------CVR Energy Inc. has completed the hydrocracker conversion to produce renewable diesel at its petroleum refinery in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. The unit is running on soybean oil at half capacity for now. An on-site pretreatment unit is expected to be complete next year. [BBD] -----------------------------Honeywell has signed a licensing agreement with BP for Honeywell UOP’s Ecofining™ technology at BP’s proposed 145 mgy renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) refineryconversion project in Western Australia. [BBD] -----------------------------Darling Ingredients Inc. has completed its acquisition of Valley Proteins for $1.1 billion, which includes 18 major U.S. rendering plants and used cooking oil (UCO) facilities. Darling has also agreed to purchase Brazil’s FASA Group for $560 million cash. FASA Group owns 14 rendering plants with two more under construction. The Diamond Green Diesel JV between Darling and Valero Energy Corp. can produce 690 mgy of renewable diesel in Norco, Louisiana. Its 470 mgy Port Arthur, Texas, project is expected to be complete next year. [BBD] -----------------------------PBF Energy Inc. continues to advance its $600 million renewable diesel project at the Chalmette refinery in Louisiana. The project involves constructing a feedstock-pretreatment unit and converting an idled hydrocracker to process nearly 290 mgy of renewable diesel. Start-up is expected next year. [BBD]

Phillips 66 made a final investment decision to fully convert its San Francisco Refinery, above, to make 800 mgy of renewable diesel, SAF and other biofuels by 2024. PHOTO: PHILLIPS 66 CO.

-----------------------------World Energy LLC has secured the critical permits required for a $2 billion project to increase fuel-manufacturing capacity at its Paramount, California, SAF plant to 340 mgy, a 700 percent increase. World Energy is teaming up with Air Products and Honeywell for the project. [BBD] -----------------------------Refuel Energy Inc. is planning to construct a 43 mgy renewable diesel and SAF plant in Southern Ontario, Canada. A final investment decision will come in 2023. If approved, production would start in 2025. The plant will utilize Topsoe’s HydroFlex™ and H2bridge™ technologies. [BBD] -----------------------------Oceania Biofuels plans to build a $370 million renewable diesel and SAF plant in Gladstone, Queensland, Australia, scaled at 93 mgy. Construction is slated to begin next year. [BBD] -----------------------------After its deal with Viking Energy Group Inc. fell through, New Rise Renewables Reno LLC entered into a $136 million ground sale and leaseback arrangement with Twain Financial Partners to complete construction of its 43 mgy renewable diesel project in Reno, Nevada. The plant is expected to be completed by November. [BBD] -----------------------------Vertex Energy Inc. completed acquisition of a refinery in Mobile, Alabama, for $75 million in cash. Vertex plans to convert the hydrocracking unit by year’s end to be capable of producing more than 200 mgy of renewable diesel next year. [BBD] -----------------------------ExxonMobil is investing $125 million in Global Clean Energy Holdings Inc. with an option to acquire up to a 25 percent equity stake. GCEH’s 230 mgy biorefinery in Bakersfield, California, is expected to start production this year. [BBD] -----------------------------The HollyFrontier acquisition of Sinclair is now complete and HF Sinclair Corp. has been formed. The new conglomerate owns several renewable diesel plants and projects. Its 87 mgy renewable diesel unit (RDU) in Cheyenne, Wyoming, became fully operational in February. Construction on its 125 mgy Artesia, New Mexico, RDU is expected to be complete this summer. In Sinclair, Wyoming, the company can produce 117 mgy of renewable diesel. [BBD] -----------------------------Madrid-based Repsol has begun construction on its renewable diesel and SAF biorefinery at the company’s petroleum complex in Cartagena, Spain. Repsol is investing 200 million euros in the project to manufacture approximately 85 mgy. [BBD]

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [11]


Biodiesel News Briefs Acquisitions, project development and state legislation dominate the headlines.

Chevron Corp. and Renewable Energy Group Inc. announced in late February that Chevron would acquire REG for $3.15 billion in cash. REG operates 10 biodiesel plants in the U.S. and Europe and a renewable diesel facility in Louisiana. REG shareholders approved the acquisition in May. Chevron’s goal is to produce approximately 1.5 billion gallons of biobased diesel per year by 2030. It is unclear what will become of REG’s methyl ester biodiesel plants after the deal closes. [BBD] -----------------------------Before the Chevron deal was announced, REG revealed plans to install a pretreatment facility in Germany provided by Austria-based BDI-BioEnergy International GmbH. BDI recently completed two major RepCat biodiesel projects, one in Bakersfield, California (see page 32), and the other in Komárom, Hungary, for Rossi Biofuel. The 15-million-gallon-per-year (mgy) facility is the first in Europe to use BDI’s RepCat process, which employs a recyclable catalyst. Cargill’s Bioro facility in Belgium is currently being installed with RepCat and is expected to open in June scaled at 35 mgy. [BBD] -----------------------------Marathon Petroleum Corp. has converted its Cincinnati Renewable Fuels biodiesel plant in Ohio to a feedstockpretreatment facility for renewable diesel production in North Dakota. The Cincinnati plant, which Marathon bought in 2014, was


capable of producing 91 mgy of biodiesel. Now, the site can pretreat roughly only 30 mgy of feedstock. In 2020, Marathon bought an idled biodiesel plant in Nebraska to use for feedstock pretreatment. [BBD] -----------------------------Continental Refining Iowa Gov. Reynolds signs the Biofuels Co. broke ground late last Access Bill into law May 17. PHOTO: THE year on its new soy-crush, OFFICE OF IOWA GOV. KIM REYNOLDS biodiesel and blending facility in Somerset, Kentucky. The facility is expected to process nearly 84,000 tons of soybeans per year and generate up to 5 mgy of biodiesel. [BBD] -----------------------------Several states signed biodiesel-related legislation into law recently. In May, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a measure doubling the production tax credit from 2 to 4 cents per gallon (cpg) and applying the fuel-tax differential to B20 rather than B11. It also extends fuel retailer tax credits to B20 (7 cpg) and B30 (10 cpg)—a national first. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law in April that extends the current B10 sales-tax exemption until 2023 and then increases the blend level subject to tax exemption to B13 in 2024, B15 in 2025 and B19 in 2026. Late last year, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill requiring all heating oil sold in-state to contain 20 percent biodiesel by 2030 through a phasein approach, with 5 percent by July 1, 10 percent in 2025 and 20 percent in 2030. [BBD]


The Center for Soy Innovation puts the latest and greatest from soybean farmers into the hands of our community. • Hands-On Educational Exhibits for All Ages • Sustainable & Soy-based Building Materials • Water Quality Management & Biodiesel Heating Technology

Take our virtual tour at


s | (573) 635-3819 734 S. Country Club Drive | Jefferson City, MO 65109 brought to you by Missouri soybean farmers and their checkoff


Gary Wheeler Executive Director

Marine Biofuel News Briefs

Partnerships, bunkering and use trials move full steam ahead. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and wholly owned MOL Chemical Tankers Pte. Ltd., together with Trafigura Pte Ltd. and TFG Marine Pte Ltd., are studying supply of biodiesel for MOLCToperated vessels in global bunkering ports. The intention is to establish a global supply of biodiesel for MOLCT’s fleet. [BBD] -----------------------------Together with partner Nordic Marine Oil, Neste Corp. is piloting a new Neste Marine™ 0.1 Co-processed marine fuel in Scandinavia. The fuel is produced at Neste’s refinery in Porvoo, Finland, where renewable feedstock is coprocessed with fossil material in conventional refining processes. [BBD] -----------------------------Monjasa recently completed its first blending and supply of marine biofuel in the UAE with Uniper and Neutral Fuels. The Monjasa Server supplied 233 metric tons of B20 marine biofuel to the Jag Prerana off Dubai. [BBD] -----------------------------Bunker Holding Group and Renewable Energy Group Inc. are collaborating to further develop the U.S. and EU marine-biofuel markets, where trials of B20 and B30 are being run in high-traffic regions. Last October, GoodFuels and REG entered a long-term agreement for the supply and development of marine-biofuel solutions. [BBD]

-----------------------------GoodFuels and Itochu Corp. are partnering to scale marine biofuel, first in Singapore where GoodFuels recently opened an office, and then Asia-Pacific and Japan. The partnership will enable market and supplychain development for wider A marine biofuel bunkering trial adoption. [BBD] PHOTO: GOODFUELS -----------------------------Toyotsu Energy Corp. performed a trial with a tugboat operated by Sanyo Kaiji Co. Ltd.—an affiliate of NYK Line— for ship-to-ship bunkering of biodiesel at the Port of Nagoya in Japan. The marine biofuel was partly derived from used cooking oil (UCO). Three test trials are planned to take place by July. [BBD] -----------------------------Total Energies Marine Fuels carried out its first ship-to-ship delivery of marine biofuel, made of 10 percent UCO biodiesel, in Singa­ pore as part of a trial recently completed by NYK Line and Anglo American. The biofuel was consumed by MT Friendship during her two-way voyage between Singapore and South Africa. [BBD] -----------------------------Dozens of marine-biofuel trials have taken place since the beginning of the year involving companies such as Louis Dreyfus, Maersk Tankers, Oldendorff Carriers and CBH Group, MOL Group, Safe Bulkers and Cargill, Ocean Network Express, Pacific International Lines, ANL and many more. [BBD]


Missouri is the leading soy-based biodiesel producer in the nation. Biodiesel is a renewable, energy-efficient, clean-burning fuel made from Missouri’s top agricultural commodity- soybeans.

Ask for it where you buy fuel.

Coalition of Missouri





Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [13]



HERO BX has been innovating and expanding for over 10 years. Each location offers biodiesel products and logistics expertise to meet regional demand.



HEROBX.COM CONTACT: Shawn Triscuit, Director of Sales





Biobased DieselTM Winter 2022 [15]


Biobased Diesel Supply: Domestic Production & Net Imports (2010-2050)

AEO2022 Reference case Thousand Barrels Per Day

160 140

2021 History Projection

Renewable Diesel

120 100


80 60 40 20 0 2010





Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2022 (AEO2022)

Soy Crush Projects Under Development Soybeans in million bushels per year. Soybean oil in million gallons per year. Costs provided by companies at time of announcement.

NDSP Location: Casselton, North Dakota Add’l Soybean Intake: 42.5 Add’l Oil Output: 61.5 Cost: Undisclosed Petroleum JV Partner: None Declared Target Completion: 2024

Norfolk Crush Location: Norfolk, Nebraska Add’l Soybean Intake: 38.5 Add’l Oil Output: 55 Cost: $375 million Petroleum JV Partner: None Declared Targeted Completion: 2024

ADM Location: Spiritwood, North Dakota Add’l Soybean Intake: 55 Add’l Oil Output: 80 Cost: $350 million Petroleum JV Partner: Marathon Target Completion: 2023

Epitome Energy Location: Crookston, Minnesota Add’l Soybean Intake: 42 Add’l Oil Output: 60 Cost: $300 million Petroleum JV Partner: None Declared Target Completion: Unknown

SDSP Location: Mitchell, South Dakota Add’l Soybean Intake: 35 Add’l Oil Output: 51 Cost: Undisclosed Petroleum JV Partner: None Declared Target Completion: 2025

Shell Rock Soy Processing Location: Shell Rock, Iowa Add’l Soybean Intake: 38.5 Add’l Oil Output: 55 Cost: $270 million Petroleum JV Partner: Phillips 66 Target Completion: 2024 Platinum Crush Location: Alta, Iowa Add’l Soybean Intake: 38.5 Add’l Oil Output: 55 Cost: $350 million Petroleum JV Partner: None Declared Target Completion: 2024

AGP Location: David City, Nebraska Add’l Soybean Intake: 50 Add’l Oil Output: 72 Cost: Undisclosed Petroleum JV Partner: None Declared Target Completion: 2025 AGP (Expansion) Location: Sergeant Bluff, Iowa Add’l Soybean Intake: Unknown Add’l Oil Output: Unknown Cost: Unknown Petroleum JV Partner: None Declared Target Completion: Unknown

CHS (Expansion) Location: Fairmont, Minnesota Add’l Soybean Intake: 17 Add’l Oil Output: 25 Cost: Unknown Petroleum JV Partner: None Declared Target Completion: 2021

Bartlett Location: Montgomery County, Kansas Add’l Soybean Intake: 38.5 Add’l Oil Output: 55 Cost: $325 million Petroleum JV Partner: None Declared Target Completion: 2024

At a Glance

Number of Projects: 15 Total Listed Add’l Soybean Intake: 546.5 million bushels/yr Total Listed Add’l Oil Output: 793.5 mgy Total Listed Costs: $2.575 billion* *Only eight of 15 projects shared costs


Cargill Location: Pemiscot County, Missouri Add’l Soybean Intake: 62 Add’l Oil Output: 95 Cost: Undisclosed Petroleum JV Partner: None Declared Targeted Completion: 2026

Continental Refining Co. (Integrated Crush/Biodiesel Project) Location: Somerset, Kentucky Add’l Soybean Intake: 4 Add’l Oil Output: 6 Cost: Unknown Target Completion: 2022

Bunge (2 Plant Expansions) Locations: Destrehan, Louisiana; Cairo, Illinois Add’l Soybean Intake: 85 Add’l Oil Output: 123 Cost: $600 million Petroleum JV Partner: Chevron Target Completion: 2024

U.S. Biobased Diesel Trade 2021

2021 U.S. Biodiesel Imports (Million Gallons) Data Source: EIA

19.614 23.646 27.174


Renewable diesel imports were up 40 percent in 2021 versus 2020, and biodiesel exports were up nearly 30 percent.


Total U.S. Biobased Diesel Imports 2021 vs. 2020


South Korea



2021 U.S. Biodiesel Exports

(Million Gallons) Data Source: EIA



(Million Gallons) Data Source: EIA

Canada, 141.120


279.640 Peru, 19.908



392.280 Netherlands, 8.316 0







Singapore, 7.098

Uruguay, 3.486 Germany, 0.504 South Korea, 0.168


Renewable Diesel

BiodieselExports Exports 2021 vs.vs. 2020 U.S.U.S. Biodiesel 2021 2020

2021 U.S. Renewable Diesel Imports

(Million Gallons) Gallons) (Million Data Source: EIA Data Source: EIA

2020 2020

Mexico, 1.470

Chili, 0.042 Norway, 0.084

(Million Gallons) Data Source: EIA


Netherlands Netherlands


2021 2021

Singapore Singapore 182.196 00





391.482 0













Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [17]


Biobased Diesel by the Numbers Renewable diesel and biodiesel production capacity may soon exceed domestic feedstock availability and demand, but this doesn’t mean a crisis is looming.

By John Campbell While electric vehicles (EVs) make headlines, the renewable fuels industry offers a more immediate and impactful disruption to the energy industry, and more specifically, to the market for liquid fuels used in cars and trucks. With petroleum companies showing new interest, renewable diesel supply is poised to possibly triple, shaking up energy and transportation markets, and offering fresh and exciting opportunities for investment. Transportation is the No. 1 cause of greenhouse gases. EVs have the potential to reduce road carbon emissions by about 50 percent. At current rates, it would take 15-plus years to turn a U.S. fleet of more than 290 million vehicles. EVs only captured 10 percent of sales in 2021 and are projected to comprise around 60 percent of sales in 2050, according to analysts. The upshot: Cars and trucks will need liquid fuels for at least the next 50 years—not to mention the global airline industry, which burns more than 100 billion gallons of fuel a year. The fossil-fuels industry has opposed every government program designed to encourage renewable fuel production. Times are changing. Petroleum companies are investing in renewables to satisfy consumers, shareholders, and boardrooms seeking to decarbonize their product offerings. That is leading to a big expansion of capacity. Ocean Park analysis indicates that 11 renewable diesel plants will have a high probability to bring 3 billion gallons of capacity online by the end of 2024. Nine of these are backed by eight petroleumrefining companies. Behind these, there are an additional 15 announced renewable diesel projects with 3.3 billion gallons of potential capacity that are in the early development stages. For perspective, there was 3.1 billion gallons of biomassbased diesel produced in 2021, of which almost 600 million gallons was through imports. The first highly probable renewable diesel tranche would double 2021 production of biomass-based diesel and the second tranche would triple 2021 production. Total diesel consumption for transportation in the U.S. is approximately 45 billion gallons. The renewable fuels industry could meet around 20 percent of this demand if all this capacity comes online. Change takes time. It took biodiesel 20 years to achieve around 6 percent diesel market share, and ethanol 30 years to gain around 9 percent market share. To be sure, the growth of renewable diesel is limited by the availability of feedstock. Biobased feedstocks are limited by arable land and water, whose primary purpose is growing food and feed. Proven fossil reserves, on the other hand, keep growing while wind and solar are almost infinite. Ocean Park analysis indicates that if only the first tranche of highly probable renewable diesel capacity comes online and is added to current run rates for biomass-based diesel, they would consume all domestically available feedstocks leaving none for food, feed and other industrial uses. Obviously, this cannot and will not happen. So what is the solution? Biomass-based diesel costs more than fossil diesel, therefore government policy sets both the [18]

upper and lower demand bounds. Today, almost all renewable diesel heads for California due to the combination of federal Renewable Fuel Standard mandates and blenders tax credits (BTC), and state Low Carbon Fuel Standard incentives. In 2022, the lower bound is around 2.7 billion gallons set by the RFS and the upper bound is around 3.5 billion gallons considering waterfall impacts from flexibilities built into RFS and incentives from the LCFS and BTC. We are also seeing a “great rotation” from biodiesel to renewable diesel. In the past two years, domestic renewable diesel production as a percentage of biomass-based diesel nearly doubled from 26 to 48 percent. We expect this trend to continue because returns on renewable diesel production exceed returns on biodiesel production. Thus, renewable diesel producers can outbid biodiesel manufacturers for limited feedstock supplies. The reasons for higher renewable diesel returns are due to the integrated logistics owned by refiners, the drop-in replacement advantages of renewable diesel, and refiners being able to capture the entire $1-per-gallon BTC benefits while biodiesel producers may only capture 50 percent. Petroleum refiners have decided that it is better to internally solve the RFS compliance expense than to purchase renewable identification number (RIN) credits or liquid gallons from third parties. It allows them to use their own assets, thereby bringing greater efficiencies and flexibility. It also responds to their decarbonization pledges and international carbon-accounting standards. Renewable diesel developers understand the feedstock challenge they face. Ocean Park has tracked 19 feedstock transactions between renewable diesel producers and feedstock providers since 2018. Tying up the feedstock or developing new feedstocks are necessary corollaries of renewable diesel development. The only large domestic pool of available feedstock is soybeans. The U.S. exports about 1 billion bushels to be crushed for protein meal and oil in other parts of the world. Domestic soy crushers have responded with new greenfield plants and expansions to existing plants, some in concert with renewable diesel developers and others independently. Ocean Park estimates that these new plants and expansions will add around 600 million gallons of soy-oil feedstocks. Renewable diesel and biodiesel capacity will exceed domestic feedstock availability and the upper bound of demand. However, Ocean Park’s view is that feedstock supplies will be adequate given the upper and lower bounds of demand set by government, and the rotation of feedstocks from biodiesel and renewable diesel, along with new crushing capacity and options for international sourcing of feedstock. Author: John Campbell Managing Director, Ocean Park 402-680-7111

The Leading Investment Bank in Renewable Fuels and Chemicals

Financial Advisor

Sell-Side Advisor

Sell-Side Advisor

Strategic Investment by ExxonMobil

Sale of High Quality Alcohol Distillery to CC Industries

Sale of Ord, NE and Hereford, TX Ethanol Plants

Sell-Side Advisor

Sell-Side Advisor

Sale to VERBIO Diesel Canada

Sale of Cellulosic Ethanol Facility to VERBIO North America

Lenders’ Financial Advisor

Restructuring of $105M Secured Debt for Alto Ingredients

Over 30 Transactions in Renewable Fuels and Chemicals since 2006

To learn more, find us at


Capital Placement

Special Situations

This material is solely for informational purposes. The information in this document does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to purchase, any security or to provide any investment advice. Any securities are offered through Ocean Park Securities, LLC, a member of FINRA and SIPC. Ocean Park’s professionals are licensed registered representatives of Ocean Park Securities, LLC. For more information, please visit or call (310) 670-2093.

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [19]


The Obstacle Plaguing Market Development: Who’s to Blame? Fuel dealers tend to know a lot about their customers, but how much do customers know about their dealers? Sharing market toils and opportunities with customers can strategically bridge the upstream and downstream divide. By Paul Nazzaro The phrase “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” refers to the importance of adopting the customs of those who are in a certain place or situation, and behaving like they do. In addition, the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is an adage attesting to the need for time to create great things. When I hear these two phrases, I think about the impasse at which the petroleum and renewable fuels industries find themselves. For nearly two decades, I have heard from the downstream marketers of distillate fuels that they are challenged to deliver low-carbon liquid-fuel blends for their customers. They say it’s not their fault, but if not theirs then who’s? The pathway of simply adapting to the traditional way of selling carbon-based fuel is an easy one. There is no need to negotiate differently. And worries about that blended fuel not functioning like good ole fashion diesel fuel or heating oil currently being sold are nonexistent. Regarding the time it took to build Rome, establishing a low-carbon fuels business can’t possibly be more challenging than building the seat of an empire, can it? It seems like downstream-distribution groups are reluctant toward innovation. Diesel and heating oil have been the longstanding crown jewel for fuel dealers nationwide. Petroleum distillates are loaded with BTUs and challenged by market volatility and fuel-quality nuances, yet no one really appears excited or interested to transition to low- or zero-carbon fuels. Downward pressures on this industry being forcibly promulgated by bureaucrats haven’t been enough to motivate the supply chain to begin the transition to low carbon. Weak demand from the consumer doesn’t help either. They’re neither being educated nor educating themselves, which makes for an easy “let’s wait and see where this all settles out” behavior. If the past several years have taught us anything, it’s that operating our fuel-distribution businesses in extraordinary and unstable times can feel unbearable. Companies that continue to thrive understand that a customer’s dissatisfaction is equally both a stressor and an opportunity waiting to be explored and exploited. Let me explain. Have you ever considered sharing with customers the market volatility and stress points encountered to supply them ratably and competitively? If not, why not? Those with whom I have had the privilege to visit about the new frontier of energy marketing have begun to bring their customers into the decision-making processes and have solicited their input on the ever-changing energy landscape. It has helped them improve their respective businesses while increasing customer confidence in the distributor that serves them by creating a collaborative strategy between upstream and downstream. Walk in the customer’s shoes. Think about their pain points, and not just the escalating fuel costs they face. Think about the legislative drivers forcing them to address market erosion to alternative technologies, which appear to be making evermore [20]

ground while the liquid-fuel industry continues to go through the proverbial buy-and-sell playbook. It’s time to be open and honest about the challenges we face and listen attentively to feedback. You may glean valuable pointers to help improve your company that have nothing to do with the current issues of backwardation, supply tightness and environmental pressures to move from carbon to no carbon. It’s clear that we have navigated turbulence since the beginning of time, adapting and succeeding no matter what is thrown at us. This brings me back to Rome. Why are we going along to get along, and why is it taking so long to tighten our belts and begin that transition to the low-carbon options of biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)? I don’t pick winners and losers, nor should you. What we should all be doing is talking to our partners about these new fuels, working diligently to integrate whatever systems need to be engineered to equip a terminal, truck or customer location to make certain they’re buying a 21st-century fuel that is built on a liquid foundation. Electrification, hydrogen and other future fuels are all open for discussion, but readily available biodiesel, renewable diesel and SAF can have a positive impact on the “time value of carbon” now. This means that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cut today are worth more than cuts promised tomorrow. Take advantage of this. Share this opportunity to cut GHG emissions today with fleets or stationary generator users of distillate fuel. Educate them that they need not wait until 2030 or 2050 to begin the journey to net zero. It can start today and will have a greater impact on the environment than waiting until tomorrow. To move from good to great, we need to stop following and become market leaders. So, the next time a call comes in to fill up that 10,000-gallon diesel tank or 275-gallon home heating oil tank, share your challenges with the voice on the other end of the phone. When you do offer them low-carbon options, they may say, “Just send me the cheapest product you got.” You may have to make several attempts and try different approaches, but don’t get caught up in selling options or thinking that one discussion is going to seal the deal and earn their confidence. The conversation needs to be a continuum. If you don’t share this information and opportunity today, tomorrow is right around the corner. And at some point, it will be too late to tell the story about the transition that never was. I hope you are up for the challenge. Don’t wait for mandates to save our industry because they’re not in sync with our industry survival timeline. With all this in mind, the only option you, the fuel dealer, should be thinking about is the one that appears most challenging—talking to your customer.

Author: Paul Nazzaro President, Advanced Fuel Solutions 978-258-8360

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [21]


Plasma Blue: Making Cents The new biodiesel technology pays for itself in 12 months, allowing adopters to reap the savings and expand production capacity with seamless integration into existing facilities. By Seg Niebuhr

Plasma Blue’s self-contained mobile testing unit. PHOTO: PLASMA BLUE

When a consumer saves 1 cent per gallon when filling their fuel tank, it is hard for them to become excited. But when a biodiesel production plant saves 1 cent per gallon on 35 million gallons, it can quickly change the plant’s long-term viability. Now imagine: What if they could save up to 15 cents per gallon? Enter Plasma Blue, a revolutionary new technology that creates biodiesel at a dramatically lower production cost while integrating easily into existing biodiesel plants, new greenfield projects, as well as ethanol refineries. Plasma Blue technology uses electricity to excite the molecules as they pass through the reactor, which in turn causes an improved intimate contact between the molecules. This technology drives the reaction faster than any other form of transesterification and, in doing so, delivers a more complete conversion and decreases bottleneck issues during this stage. Using Plasma Blue technology as a means for performing transesterification will offer dramatic advantages, including a potential 15 cents per gallon savings due to the lower catalyst cost. What would you invest for this type of year-after-year savings? With a return on investment of just 12 months, the benefit of this cutting-edge technology is immense. Setting aside the operational cost savings, Plasma Blue technology is also environmentally friendly. Think of the possibilities—biofuel plants lower their energy costs while enhancing carbon-intensity (CI) scores, which in turn allow those facilities to take advantage of government incentives for clean, renewable energy. When plants have the ability to use electricity over natural gas for energy-input purposes and can force conversion at any temperature, the cost savings are astronomical. In addition, Plasma Blue technology can be powered through wind or solar energy. This technology can take a renewable, farm-grown oil, add a renewable catalyst (ethanol), and be powered by renewable energy to create the ultimate renewable liquid fuel. This is the true trifecta. Concerned about expensive downtimes or expansion needs with this technology? Fear not. Plasma Blue has you covered. When compared to installing other biodiesel-technology processes, Plasma Blue is significantly lower due to being inexpensive to purchase and far less expensive to install. The unit has a very small physical footprint and modular design. This allows existing plants to increase production capacity

without expensive downtime or expansions of plant footprints. This technology easily fits into almost all existing plants without exterior expansion. But actions speak louder than words. Through years of university testing, a 1.5-million-gallonper-year (mgy) fully contained transesterification unit was designed and employed to be tested at a processing facility. First stop—the former Integrity Biofuels in Indiana. Plasma Blue was able to perform testing on thousands of gallons of refined soybean oil, ultimately receiving a certificate of analysis. The results speak for themselves. To continue our development, the same 1.5 mgy unit has made its way north to another existing plant, where it is currently undergoing long-term, large-scale testing on crude protein oil. When successfully dialed in, this plant will benefit from the ability to purchase less-refined soybean oil and take advantage of the other benefits of this technology. After putting this technology to the test, our confidence in this process is high and we are ready to introduce Plasma Blue to leaders throughout the biofuels industry. To do this effectively, we have developed a self-contained mobile testing unit. This unit will allow plants to see the technology firsthand, in the comfort of their own facility. The mobile testing unit exists in an enclosed trailer, allowing multiple feedstock product samples to be run on site and tested in the plant’s laboratory for comparison. Plasma Blue technology is truly revolutionary and will be a game changer for the biofuels industry. In an ever-changing industry where each penny matters, this technology will help your facility increase profitability by expansion and cost reduction. The future of biodiesel is upon us. Are you ready to invest? It just makes cents. Contact us today.


Author: Seg Niebuhr Chief Technical Officer, Plasma Blue 814-392-3187

Let us bring the future of biodiesel to you. Anytime. Anywhere. To prove out the benefits of Plasma Blue’s technology, while also making it efficient for biofuel plant operators and owners, we’ve developed a self-contained, mobile testing unit. This unit allows plants to experience the technology firsthand by running through samples of your own feedstock and utilizing the plant’s lab for product comparison — all in the comfort of your own facility. The first 10 scheduled visits will receive a free plasma lighter. Call to learn more and schedule your visit today.




Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [23]


Diesel Powers the Global Economy, Renewable Biofuels Will Sustain Our Future Policymakers pushing for electrification tomorrow must realize what modern cleandiesel technology and low-carbon biofuels can do for the planet today. By Allen Schaeffer In a recent interview with The New York Times Magazine about his soon-to-be-released book, How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We’re Going, legendary scientist and authority on energy and technology Vaclav Smil tells it like it is. “We live in this world of exaggerated promises and delusional pop science. I’m trying to bring it onto some modest track of reality and common sense. The official goal in the U.S. is complete decarbonization of electricity generation by 2035. That’s Biden’s program: zero-carbon electricity in 2035. The country doesn’t have a national grid! How will you decarbonize and run the country by wind and solar without a national grid? And what will it take to build a national grid in a NIMBY society like the U.S.?” Smil’s take on the challenges and practical realities we face is tough talk, and just what we need to hear during this time of many challenges surrounding energy and climate strategies. Today we are effectively living in two worlds: one of energy abundance from fossil fuels and the other a zero-carbon world, the clean-energy future. Diesel uniquely and effectively works in both of these worlds, delivering everything that we need today. Using sustainable biofuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel ensures that diesel technology is part of the clean-energy, lowcarbon future. That message is increasingly important but increasingly challenging to deliver. Electrification has become so closely associated with the clean-energy future that consideration of other strategies for decarbonization like renewable biofuels is deeply diminished. Yet the means and timeline for achieving “electrify-everything” goals are anything but certain. Fifteen sectors of the global economy—including goods movement, construction, agriculture and mining—rely largely on diesel. Fundamental changes to every global energy and economic sector won’t happen overnight to solve the “climate crisis,” as Smil laments. People and economies must live in the reality of the moment. Today’s reality is that geopolitical conflicts and supply-chain disruptions threaten fossil fuels and rare metals essential for batteries, and feedstocks vital to producing renewable biofuels. The Biden administration has made significant commitments both in policy and public funding to accelerate the introduction of alternatives to diesel, namely electrified and hydrogen technologies. While these may hold promise for decarbonizing some sectors of transportation at some level, manufacturers say they are far from becoming dominant anytime soon. Yet, many progressive stakeholders demand immediate changes but will not even consider more available or affordable solutions like renewable biofuels. [24]

The opportunity for use of more renewable, low-carbon biofuels as a key strategy to decarbonize some sectors of the economy has never been greater. Billions of gallons of renewable biofuels are used each year—3 billion gallons of biobased diesel fuel was used in the U.S. last year alone. Using more renewable biofuels in targeted sectors is a proven way to deliver carbon and other emissions reductions from the millions of existing vehicles and equipment that are going to be in operation for decades to come. We’re all familiar with the overnight success of public and private fleets lowering their carbon footprint by switching to renewable biofuels. They’re helping communities realize 20 to 80 percent fewer emissions and cleaner air today, not waiting five or 10 years for when or if electric infrastructure becomes available. Policymakers need to think beyond the old paradigms and embrace approaches that cut emissions faster, delivering benefits sooner. About half of all the big-rig, commercial trucks on the road were made with an older-generation technology, therefore they do not have the benefit of advanced emissions controls. They’ll be on the road for a million miles or more. It would take 60 new trucks to equal the emissions of just one older truck. This existing fleet of older vehicles and equipment largely dominates the emissions profile today—and will for decades to come, too. Accelerating the turnover of the existing fleet of older vehicles and equipment to the new generation of diesel technology, along with using more renewable biofuels, offer a tremendous opportunity to begin getter cleaner air and carbon reductions now. The crisis of climate change is headline news nearly every day, but it is a headline alongside horrors of a global pandemic and a deadly global war in Ukraine. The cleaner-energy future is out there, but it is up to us—fuel producers, engine and equipment makers and users—through our collective, determined voice to ensure that diesel engines and biodiesel and renewable diesel fuels are a recognized part of it. What are we waiting for?

Author: Allen Schaeffer Executive Director, Diesel Technology Forum 301-668-7230

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [25]


How Do We Maximize the Carbon Efficiency of Renewable Fuel Production? The use of Topsoe’s H2bridge™ technology is an effective solution for carbon-conscious, business-friendly renewable production. By Henrik Rasmussen U.S. renewable fuels production has been gaining momentum over the past few years. California, Washington, Oregon and New York all operate, or are preparing, subsidy programs for renewables, and there’s already a federal incentive for producers to adopt renewable production technologies. To maximize profitability and, by extension, viability, a renewable fuel business has to produce jet or diesel fuel at the lowest possible carbon-intensity (CI) score, thereby qualifying for greater subsidies overall. As such, it pays off— both short and long term—to minimize the CI of a renewable fuel throughout the value chain, including via the process technology utilized in production. And one of the best ways to do that is by turning your fuel production’s main byproducts into renewable hydrogen with Topsoe’s market-ready H2bridge™ technology.

A Renewable Loop for Mutually Beneficial Production

During fuel production, the hydrotreatment of triglycerides in a Topsoe HydroFlex™ unit results in a small amount of off-gas, propane and naphtha. These are subsequently fed into the H2bridge™ unit, thereby reducing the operation’s total natural-gas requirement by 95 percent, and almost [26]

entirely eliminating the need for fossilbased natural gas as a key component of hydrogen production. The green hydrogen produced by H2bridge™ is then sent to the HydroFlex™ unit, where it is used to hydrotreat and dewax the triglyceride products. Thus, Topsoe’s patent-pending integration of HydroFlex™ and H2bridge™ effectively reduces the CI of the renewable product by up to 10 points—a significant advantage for producers eager to secure the best possible profitability per barrel.

Redefining Hydrogen Efficiency with Legacy Technology

Efficiency is key to H2bridge™’s operation. A traditional hydrogen plant based on steam-methane reforming (SMR) produces significant export steam, resulting in a higher CI score. H2bridge™, however, generates only the steam needed for the unit itself, meaning that next to no energy is wasted as export steam—a characteristic that differentiates it from other hydrogen-production technologies. The reason why H2bridge™ works as efficiently as it does is that the underlying Topsoe technology has existed for decades. The Haldor Topsoe Convection Reformer, which utilizes a single highreliability burner, entered operation in 1992 and has since logged hundreds of operational years across 40 units around the world. Integrated within a renewable setup, it’s known as H2bridge™, producing hydrogen and steam at an 80/20 ratio,

translating to 30 percent greater efficiency than a conventional SMR unit.

Maximizing Business Value While Minimizing Environmental Impact

All of this means good things for the environment. In addition to the biogenic nature of the already-reduced CO2 emissions resulting from use of the HydroFlex™ unit’s off-gases (as opposed to heavier fossil-driven CO2 emissions present in conventional fuel production), H2bridge™ provides its own significant benefits for renewable fuels producers. The solution enables full feedstock flexibility, all the way from C1 to naphtha, and since propane management is streamlined with H2bridge™, producers can reduce capital expenditures by eliminating the need for a depropanizer unit and propane storage tanks. With H2bridge™, our goal is to make renewable jet and diesel an easier, more profitable reality for our customers in the renewable industry. Our first H2bridge™ reference is already in operation, with several more at various stages of construction, and the completion of each helps another producer improve their competitiveness—and environmental impact—with a lower CI score. Good business should, after all, be good for the planet as well.

Author: Henrik Rasmussen Managing Director for the Americas, Topsoe 281-228-5130


GROW BUSINESS. H2bridge™ means you can replace fossil feedstocks with renewable LPG or naphtha to produce hydrogen. A truly circular solution for your refinery, ready to deploy. Fuel for Thought Check out Topsoe’s knowledge centre to find out more:

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [27]


Bradley Brings Passion to Her New Role at Clean Fuels Alliance America The organization’s new director of environmental science, Veronica Bradley, will provide the scientific foundation to promote policies that encourage use of biobased diesel. By Liz McCune For Veronica Bradley, her environmental work is more than just a job—it’s personal. “I know that the lake I grew up on in Michigan isn’t the same lake today,” she says. “There’s no more ice fishing because the ice doesn’t get thick enough. I think climate change is a very real thing, and that’s where I see the urgency of the immediate solution in clean fuels.” Bradley As the new director of environmental science for Clean Fuels Alliance America, formerly the National Biodiesel Board, Bradley is uniting her scientific background, legal experience and passion for preserving the environment. “I have an undergraduate degree that focused on environmental studies, so I learned all of the nature-based sciences that gave me a foundation to understand our issues and the science behind the solutions to our environmental issues,” she says. Bradley stepped into her new position at Clean Fuels on May 2, and she works out of the Washington, D.C., office. “We are thrilled to have Veronica join our team,” says Donnell Rehagen, Clean Fuels CEO. “Her expertise in environmental advocacy and passion for her work make Veronica a perfect fit for Clean Fuels Alliance America and a valuable asset for our industry.” Bradley says she has always had a deep connection with nature and a great interest in protecting it for future generations, including her two young children. “I have an almost four-year-old and four-month-old, and I want them to be able to see the world as I’ve been able to see it,” she says. “There’s a genuine sense of ‘pack-in, pack-out’ if you’re a hiker—leave the place as good as you found it, if not better.” As director of environmental science, Bradley will provide the scientific foundation to promote policies that encourage the use of biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. “One of the things I’ve always been interested in, and I think one of the things that aligns with Clean Fuels, is working in the space of reducing our environmental impact without compromising our quality of life,” she says. Bradley says this work intrigues her because, while most people want to have a positive impact on the environment, not everyone can make major life changes. [28]

“They have so many other priorities that compete with thinking about what’s the most environmentally beneficial option, and working in the clean-fuels space, you don’t have to change anything,” she says. “You just get the different fuel, and you can carry on with your life. You’re making a better choice. I really like that space of maintaining America’s quality of life while reducing the environmental impact that we have.” At Clean Fuels, she will develop policy positions and work with program offices to promote the environmental benefits of these fuels. She says that some states have had great success in promoting and incentivizing the use of clean fuels, and these programs can be rolled out across the country to help states and local governments meet their climate commitments. “As states look to figure out how to reduce their emissions, how to fulfill the commitments that they’ve made, they need these policies because they need the cleaner fuels, the better fuels, to be used in their state,” she says. Bradley’s Midwestern perspective helps her express the significance of farmers to policymakers in Washington, D.C., and across the country. “I think that people who live in cities, in particular, are disconnected from their food and the land in some ways,” she says. “The farmers’ importance to support urban life can’t be underscored enough.” Bradley’s previous experience includes working with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and American Wind Energy Association. Most recently, she served as the director of environmental affairs at Airlines for America, where she worked in environmental advocacy on climate issues, corporate sustainability disclosure and more. She received her bachelor of arts degree with distinction from the University of Michigan in 2007. She earned her juris doctor magna cum laude from American University Washington College of Law in 2014. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and two children.

Author: Liz McCune Communications Director, Clean Fuels Alliance America 573-635-3893

Onward now. The National Biodiesel Board is now Clean Fuels Alliance America.

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [29]

PERSPECTIVE | New soybean-processing facilities like the one shown are being built or undergoing expansion across the U.S. Midwest in order to meet rising soybean oil feedstock demand from the fast-growing renewable diesel sector. PHOTO: FRAZIER, BARNES & ASSOCIATES

Paradigm Shifts: Can We Meet the Challenge? The volume of soybean oil to come from a boom in crush projects under development and expansion is dwarfed by the expected demand from biobased diesel production capacity. By Pete Moss How much soybean oil can we produce and how fast can we produce it? The answer to those questions will have ramifications on the market for years to come. Not only do we live in a time of turbulent and uncertain times, but we also live in very exciting times. As announcements for new renewable diesel projects begin to taper off, notifications of new soybean-crushing facilities seemingly occur on a weekly basis. This requires a fight for acres, manufacturing capacity and feedstock. In the end, the market will decide who wins and loses. U.S. farmers are growing more beans, but is it enough? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, soybean [30]

farmers intend on planting 91 million acres in 2022, which would be a record and an increase of 4.4 percent over 2021. Biodiesel and renewable diesel producers have a wide choice of feedstocks to choose from including all types of animal fats, waste greases and virgin oils. Despite having a higher carbon-intensity (CI) score than other oils and fats, soybean oil for biofuel use is very important because of its abundance— roughly 26 billion pounds in 2021, or 3.5 billion gallons. So as the demand for oil grows and the price increases, one would expect that processors would produce more of it. In fact, in order to get more soybean oil into the market, more soybeans need to be produced, fewer exported, and more

processing capacity must be built. And that is exactly what is happening. Farmers will not grow more soybeans than corn unless it is profitable to do so. Exporters will not export as many soybeans if the domestic market is demanding them. Processors will not build additional capacity unless the crush margins are attractive. Crush margins—the difference between the cost of soybeans and the value of the products—are actually quite good for nearby months and projected into the future. Based on July Chicago Board of Trade prices of $17 for soybeans, 80 cents per pound soybean oil and $450 soybean-meal values, both farmers and processors have the potential to make nice profits. Some might call this new pricing scenario a paradigm shift. Whatever it is called, the fact that soybean oil is driving market expansion has never happened before. Soybean oil, which contributes to 20 percent of the product volume in a crush plant, is driving new capacity because it is nearly 50 percent of the value of the total soybean. Seventeen-dollar soybean prices, nearly a record high, are driving farmers to plant more acres. The upward trajectory in planted soybean acres has been occurring for more than two decades, with some states nearly quadrupling production since the year 2000. Increase in in Soybean Bushels in Millions Increase Soybean Bushels (Millions) (Sample SampleofofU.S. U.S.States) States






























Percent Increase


Farmers continue to produce more soybeans, but can the production of soybean oil keep up with the insatiable demand from the biofuel industry? There are currently eight or more new U.S. soybean processing plants that have been announced, plus numerous expansions at existing crushing plants that are underway but not publicly disclosed. The crush-plant projects that have been announced will yield an estimated 400 million gallons (3 billion pounds) of additional soybean oil annually to the market in the next two to three years, but will that be enough to meet the demand without adversely affecting the market? Keep in mind that soybeans yield approximately 20 percent oil and 75 percent meal, so there will be a significant amount of high-protein soybean meal entering the market in the next few years. Four-hundred-million gallons of soybean oil sounds like a significant amount, and it will certainly be more than that with existing plant expansions, but from a macroeconomic view, it is a drop in the bucket. Soybean-oil futures recently reached a record 90 cents per pound, yet its use for biofuels shows no slowing down.

Soybean oil used for biofuel, relative to the amount produced, has eclipsed the 40-percent threshold for the first time ever. In other words, 41 percent of all soybean oil produced goes toward biofuel use, and that percentage is increasing. The following chart shows the amount of soybean oil produced annually, the amount used for biofuel, and the percentage of annual production used for biofuel. Note there are two scales on the chart—million pounds and percentage of soybean oil used for biofuel production.


Why so much attention on soybean oil? On average, it comprises more than 50 percent of the feedstock blend used to make biobased diesel fuel. Soybean oil has averaged 55 percent of the feedstock blend over time, except when it spiked to 70 percent during the pandemic. Combined, yellow grease, distillers corn oil, canola oil and tallow do not equate to the amount of soybean oil used for biofuel. The increase in renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel production highlights the critical issue of soybean-oil supply and the ability of the market to adapt. In the next couple of years, it is possible that 2 billion gallons of renewable diesel production will come online—this means another 15 billion pounds of feedstock will need to feed these plants. Even if only half those plants are completed, this is still more soybean oil than is projected to be added in the next few years. Without a doubt, one of three things will happen: Innovative crops will be commercialized with higher oil yields; substantially more acres will be devoted to soybeans and/or canola crops; or renewable diesel capacity expectations will need to be curtailed to more realistic levels. Did I mention this would be exciting?

Author: Pete Moss President, Frazier, Barnes & Associates 901-725-7258

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [31]


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Crimson Renewable Energy’s new plant in Bakersfield, California, can turn the worst feedstock into high-quality biodiesel thanks to BDI’s innovative RepCat process. PHOTO: BDI-BIOENERGY INTERNATIONAL

Feedstock processing is underway at California’s largest biodiesel plant, now that Crimson Renewable Energy’s new RepCat facility from BDIBioEnergy International is fully operational. By Hermann Stockinger

Holding the giant scissors, Simpson prepares to cut the ribbon on his new facility in April. PHOTO: LETTRATTO PHOTOGRAPHY


In April, Crimson Renewable Energy unveiled its recently completed expansion project in southwest Bakersfield, California, making the company the largest producer of ultra-low carbon biodiesel in the western United States. This expansion has increased production capacity by 13 million gallons a year (mgy), allowing the plant to produce more than 37 mgy of biodiesel. “That’s like planting 3.8 million trees and taking 108,000 cars off the road,” says Harry Simpson, president and CEO of Crimson Renewable Energy. Besides rendered animal fats of the lowest quality with the highest content of free fatty acids, the plant will mainly be operated with waste oils and fats collected from Seattle, Washington, all the way to San Diego, California, by Crimson’s SeQuential Environmental Services subsidiary. Once the fats, oils and greases are collected at more than 25,000 locations

Located in the southwest part of Bakersfield, California, the new Crimson plant will receive feedstock from its SeQuential Environmental Services subsidiary collected up and down the U.S. West Coast, from Seattle to San Diego. PHOTO: LETTRATTO PHOTOGRAPHY

from fast-food restaurants, universities, sports arenas and grocery stores, trucks transport the material to the Bakersfield production plant every day. Crimson is one of only a handful companies in the U.S. handling the process on such a large scale from beginning to end: collecting used cooking oil and other waste oils; refining it into biodiesel; and refueling fleets, fuel stations and various equipment.

To ensure that the biodiesel produced at this plant meets the highest standards, Austria-based BDI-BioEnergy International implemented its cutting-edge technology, including the innovative RepCat process, which was developed and patented by BDI itself. RepCat stands for “repeatable catalyst” and is BDI’s latest solution for the industry’s demand to process not only good and bad but, in particular, ugly raw materials. In the RepCat reactors, esterification and transesterification with methanol take place simultaneously at elevated temperature and pressure. By the use of a heterogeneous catalyst, which is synthesized on site and reused within the process, costs for catalyst and acids are reduced by up to 90 percent. In addition, this special catalyst is not sensitive to feedstock impurities, and the common problems associated with heterogeneous catalysts, such as catalyst poising when using waste-based feedstock, are not encountered. After flashing off methanol and water, the methyl esters and glycerin are distilled simultaneously in the multistage BDI highend distillation system. Lowest surface loads, fine-vacuum conditions and special column internals secure the lowest possible entrainment and highest biodiesel quality. Since there are no salts generated during the whole RepCat process, and glycerin is distilled over the top, the glycerin quality achieved is salt-free with a concentration of greater than 96 percent. Consequently, byproduct treatment is reduced to a simple methanol-recycling column. “With this newest generation of biodiesel plant, we can respond to any changes in raw-material availability and achieve the maximum possible flexibility,” Simpson says. “BDI has been a terrific partner and its RepCat technology is on track to remove an additional 135,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.” This, however, wasn’t the first project BDI did in partnership with Crimson Renewable Energy. It is a sequel to a retrofit project completed in 2016 at the first Crimson biodiesel plant. BDI supplied the technology, key equipment and necessary engineering services. BDI is currently working at full speed on other biodiesel plants using the innovative RepCat technology for environmentally friendly disposal and upcycling of waste fats to produce high-quality biodiesel. BDI’s RepCat technology is already being used successfully in the largest multifeedstock biodiesel plant in Eastern Europe and will soon also be used in Belgium to produce another 35 mgy of sustainable fuel. The highly efficient use of local resources is an important argument for BDI’s technology in this context.

Author: Hermann Stockinger Chief Sales Officer, BDI-BioEnergy International hermann.stockinger@

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [33]


Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [35]


The SME Dublin crew recently manufactured a second tanker of biodiesel made from brown grease at its new 5 mgy facility owned by Smisson-Mathis Energy and built by Tactical Fabrication. PHOTO: SMISSON-MATHIS ENERGY LLC

Fabricating a Future for Biodiesel [36]

With prices for cleaner feedstocks through the roof, Tactical Fabrication and Smisson-Mathis Energy have forged an all-inclusive, turnkey model for biodiesel production based on the least desirable and lowest-cost materials. After years of development, they are now ready to roll it out to the world. By Ron Kotrba One might consider Frankie Mathis, owner of Tactical Fabrication LLC, a soothsayer of sorts. Sure, he is a successful business owner with decades of metal-fabrication experience. More recently, in the past 10 years, Mathis has delved head first into designing, engineering and building biodiesel plants and the processes that make them work. But years ago, he saw what few others could foresee and began developing a business model around that vision. Now, he and his crews at Tactical Fabrication and Smisson-Mathis Energy are ready for the world to take notice. In 2015, when Mathis began the early feedstock-investigation work that would eventually culminate in SME Dublin LLC—a 5-million-gallon-per-year (mgy) biodiesel facility in Dublin, Georgia, owned by Smisson-Mathis Energy, a joint venture between Tactical Fabrication and The Smisson Group of Macon, Georgia— he did so with two of the dirtiest, least desirable, most problematic and lowestcost materials in mind: brown grease from restaurant grease traps; and FOG, or fats, oils and greases from sewage and wastewater-treatment plants. Used cooking oil prices might have been high then, but no one could have foreseen the rapid growth in renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) projects coming years later, and the extreme demand on “cleaner” feedstocks and the upward pricing pressure that comes along with it. Now, with cash bids for soybean oil surpassing 90 cents a pound, inedible tallow at 80 cents and choice white grease at 75 cents—making the feedstock costs alone for a gallon of biobased diesel from these three materials range from $5.60 to nearly $7 a gallon—this groundwork Mathis laid years ago to produce on-spec fuel from

materials some outfits still have to pay to get rid of was nothing short of brilliant. But it’s not just the sophisticated ability to process these low-quality, high-sulfur materials into on-spec methyl esters that makes the SME Dublin showcase plant stand out. Mathis and his teams at Tactical Fabrication and SmissonMathis Energy have developed an alphaomega strategic model to roll out to industry that encompasses feedstock origination, collection, cleanup, plant staffing, processing, and selling. This is the definition of a turnkey operation. “We want to partner with companies that offer biodiesel plants,” Mathis tells Biobased Diesel™. “We want to provide technology like we have in our SME Dublin plant. We supply the feedstock, the technology, staffing—we can come in and make a whole new ecosystem with harvesting feedstock, turning it into fuel, and actually selling it. We’re a one-stop shop. We’ve done it all. For a plant buyer, it’d be just a matter of handing the keys over to them.” In April, SME Dublin produced its second tanker of biodiesel from brown grease. “The brown grease came from a local collector in Atlanta,” Mathis says. “We are presently working with other collectors that only land apply their grease so as not to affect the browngrease market.”

Background To better understand how Tactical Fabrication and Smisson-Mathis Energy designed, engineered, erected, staffed and operates the SME Dublin facility, it is essential to first review their field experience. When Smisson-Mathis Energy was formed half a decade ago, Trip Smisson brought his entrepreneurial skills and experience to the joint venture,

while Mathis contributed all of his biodiesel knowledge to the relationship. Nearly 10 years ago, Tactical Fabrication began working with the Novozymes enzymatic biodiesel process at Viesel Fuel in Florida. At the time, in 2013, only three companies in the world were using enzymes for biodiesel production. “The first 100 reactions were the challenge,” Mathis says. “No. 100 was celebrated. When we had 1,000 successful reactions, it was just business as usual. We now had solid reactions with waste vegetable oil, and with brown grease and FOG.” A year later, Tactical Fabrication built a continuous system with Desmet Ballestra, Novozymes and Viesel Fuel. “This system was truly continuous, as one drop of oil produced one drop of fuel,” Mathis says. The 2-liter-per-minute system operated for one year. In the ensuing years, used cooking oil prices were shooting up and, eventually, the federal $1-per-gallon tax credit went away. “UCO was not an option for biodiesel production,” Mathis says. Starting in 2015, Tactical Fabrication was presented with FOG and brown grease from the local wastewater-treatment plant to see if that oil could be converted into biodiesel. “We were able to successfully achieve making the FOG and brown grease into biodiesel,” Mathis says. “The biodiesel spec for sulfur was 500 parts per million (ppm). Brown grease biodiesel could be blended. The biodiesel pathway was approved by the EPA. It was 2017 when the spec on sulfur was decreased to 15 ppm. The blending option went away.” Tactical Fabrication, along with its then-newly formed joint venture SmissonMathis Energy, began distilling the sulfur out of biodiesel, hoping to get the level Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [37]

low enough for blending. “We succeeded in getting the sulfur to 50 ppm simply,” he says. “With six months of research, we cracked the mystery and got to 5 ppm of sulfur in the finished fuel, opening the door for pure brown-grease biodiesel.” In 2018, Tactical Fabrication and Smisson-Mathis Energy started creating pilot units, the biggest one capable of processing 40 liters per minute. Construction on the 5 mgy SME Dublin plant in Georgia began in 2019. SME Dublin was finished being built last September and its first tanker of biodiesel from brown grease went out in October. Then came a delay.

Feedstock “Since Covid, brown grease has changed,” Mathis says. “We were taking in feedstock from brokers, and they had considerable amounts of industrial waste in the grease. With some tankers, nearly 30 percent of the grease would not convert into biodiesel. We were sitting on 250,000 gallons worth of feedstock that we brought in, which had so much loss in it, so much material other than free fatty acids or triglycerides.” The result of this unfortunate occurrence was the company had to empty all its tanks and hand pick collectors from which it could accept grease. “We had to revamp everything after we started,” Mathis says. Although he says he’s not quite sure why or how Covid changed the brown-grease market, Mathis says he never experienced this issue prior to the pandemic. But after Covid, any brokers from whom he bought brown grease had varying fractions of this “Covid oil” in it. Bo Munk, a technical consultant for Tactical Fabrication and SME Dublin, has a theory. “Once Covid hit, these places were excessively cleaning,” he says. This, he poses, would deposit more cleaning product in the brown grease and potentially cause the issue. “Another theory,” Mathis adds, “is it just sat for two years.” After several months of regrouping, SME Dublin processed its second on-spec load of biodiesel from brown grease this spring. “Before, we were making fuel with what we could get,” Munk says. “Now, we’re making it with what we want.” SME Dublin doesn’t go to brokers for its brown grease anymore. “They charge $4 a gallon for brown grease,” Mathis says. “That business model makes money, but not as much as ours, thanks to the brown-grease collectors we work with.” He says those from whom SME Dublin gets its brown grease do not collect grease to sell. Rather, they collect it for land applications or landfills. “Those are the collectors we are working with, which gets us very near zero cost for the feedstock. For instance, in Dublin, every drop collected was land-applied in Georgia.” Once the biodiesel plant is steadily running, SME Dublin will get paid to “dispose” of that material. “We still have to dispose of the water and solids, but thankfully the city of Dublin is working with us to develop infrastructure inside their city to help us,” Mathis says. [38]

As far as FOG from wastewater treatment facilities is concerned, Tactical Fabrication has spent almost a decade working to develop a sustainable and environmentally beneficial solution. It began with a pilot project that involved developing the best way to harvest the grease directly from the wastewater-treatment plants. Enter its FOG Harvester. Using commercially available equipment, the FOG Harvester separates the water, solids and oils on site so the water can remain at the treatment plant, the solids can be used for anaerobic digestion, and the oils are suitable for biodiesel production. Smisson-Mathis Energy and SME Dublin are working with enough companies in Georgia alone to satisfy the feedstock requirements of its 5 mgy plant. “We’ve done the footwork in Georgia,” Mathis says. “Everything that’s transportable in Georgia to Dublin, we are working. The most important thing is that, through our collection services, we ensure the best-quality feedstock from the worst feedstock possible. What we are trying to avoid, and the reason we’re working with grease-trap collectors directly, is so we don’t get caught up in the firestorm of feedstock prices skyrocketing. We can control all avenues.”

Process Technology The 5 mgy enzymatic biodiesel production facility in Dublin utilizes a batch process, “as there will be a learning curve with this new feedstock, and getting consistent feedstock will take some time,” Mathis says. Munk says in a sort of tongue-in-cheek way that he has been building the relationship with Novozymes over the past 36 years, as his uncle is the one who developed the enzymes used for biodiesel production. “We have a great relationship with Novozymes, it’s not exclusive but we are a preferred engineering partner,” Munk says. “We know how to make their enzymes work with brown grease. It’s extremely important for us to use our experience to tweak the reactor function with brown grease. It’s not rocket science, but once you get it, you have to be able to do it again and again. The enzymes are robust, but you need to understand the enzymatic process. There are good and bad sides. It’s very different than traditional biodiesel processing. Brown grease is very high in free fatty acids (FFA), which is different than working with glycerides.” With very little glycerin bound up in glycerides, the end result yields very little free glycerin. “Maybe a half a percent, but we’re not looking to harvest that,” Munk says. The enzymes convert 95 percent of the FFA into methyl esters, so SME Dublin uses Purolite resins to react the remaining 5 percent FFA into biodiesel on the back end of the process. “We do that rather than caustic washing it out and creating a loss,” Mathis says. The distillation unit is critical to getting the biodiesel made from high-sulfur feedstock such as brown grease down to acceptable, ultra-low levels below 15 ppm. The distillation process was developed completely in-house by Tactical Fabrication. “It took four different units and six months to work out, but now we can consistently remove sulfur down to 10 ppm,” Mathis

An aerial shot of the 5 mgy SME Dublin biodiesel plant in Georgia. PHOTO: SMISSON-MATHIS ENERGY LLC

start and run this plant. It’ll be says. “It was the development of Mathis and his teams at Tactical 100 percent automated. People this distillation system that made Fabrication and Smisson-Mathis who are there will monitor it, but this whole approach work.” the system is totally automated. SME Dublin is currently selling its Energy have developed an alphaWhen we get to that point, you distilla­tion bottoms to a company omega strategic model to roll don’t need very many people to out of Atlanta. operate the plant. We’re trying to out to industry that encompasses The plant is equipped with the take the human element out of all software foundation to eventually feedstock origination, collection, these complicated reactions.” make it fully automated, including cleanup, plant staffing, process monitoring. John Tucker, an automation specialist with processing, and selling. Vision Attained Industrial South, is helping to Tactical Fabrication and automate the facility and develop an autopilot system for the Smisson-Mathis Energy have been on a yearslong journey—and reactions. Process reactions can be monitored through unique they have reached the vision created years ago to build fullflow meters, so if any adjustments are needed, the PLC can make size biodiesel plants using FOG captured in sewer systems and those while SME Dublin builds its knowledge base. brown grease from restaurant grease traps. “We have expanded “Through five or six different sensors and a program we’ve along the way, specifically in feedstock procurement, where written, we can tell how the fuel is doing,” Tucker says. “In we not only have an in-depth understanding of the market and the future, we’ll be able to make a chart of what additional technologies, but also a network of companies ready to make chemicals might be needed in the reactor to rectify any potential trap grease a solution to climate change—nothing more, nothing problems. Basically, I can be in any country in the world and less,” Mathis says, adding that inquiries about the technology or Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [39]

Crew members guide the tanker truck into position. PHOTO: SMISSON-MATHIS ENERGY LLC

a plant build should be directed to SME Dublin’s plant manager, Sean Fulghum. “With Smisson-Mathis Energy, Tactical Fabrication has designed, fabricated, constructed and commissioned the first

biodiesel plant,” Mathis reiterates. “As a natural next step, we need to partner with global forces to move this technology out to the world—so trap grease becomes a thing of the past, globally.”

Journey beyond.

The National Biodiesel Board is now Clean Fuels Alliance America.


Author: Ron Kotrba Editor, Biobased Diesel™ 218-745-8347

Leaders in enzymatic biodiesel equipment technology. Tactical Fabrication has a significant presence in the alternative energy sector as the world leader in enzymatic turnkey mid-sized biodiesel refinery fabrication. This experience has enabled us to be more diverse than the competition. Utilizing our electrical and automation services as well as our in-house drafting technicians for your drawing needs, Tactical Fabrication can take a dream and turn it into a product!

Shearing Capabilities Plate Breaking Capabilities 320 Ton


Plasma Capabilities

• Product Design • Welding & Fabrication • Tool and Die

For More Information Please Contact:

• Machining • Piping • Transport

• Mobile Crane • Electrical • Automation

Tactical Fabrication LLC • 3011 Hwy 257 • Dublin, GA 31021 (478) 215-4555 • 1 (833) FAB-TFGA • Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [41]


Going Rogue


Neutral Fuels’ founder Karl W. Feilder is a rebel with a cause— to keep used cooking oil in the local sector and out of the global SAF market. PHOTO: WALEED SHAH

The art of debate, at least in America, appears to have been lost to time. The reason for this is people don’t seem to want to listen to alternative viewpoints anymore. There was a time when individuals were capable of hearing the other side of an argument. Listening is the first step to understanding, and understanding other positions is a crucial component in debate. One attempts to understand other points of view in order to counter them with logic or better ideas. The obvious point of debate is not only to “win” and get others to believe what you do, but maybe—just maybe—they too could get you to think differently about an issue. The less conspicuous purpose, or perhaps unintended outcome, of debate is to foster a broader understanding through dialectical discourse. Biofuel-centric media outlets are not generally known for their investigative techniques or objective journalism. They serve a purpose, which is to advocate for biofuels. It’s a type of reporting called advocacy journalism. Thumb through any biofuel magazine and what you’ll most often see is cheerleading and preaching to the choir. Except in this article. Broadly speaking, Biobased Diesel™ covers and promotes four specific types of fuels: biodiesel, or fatty acid methyl esters (FAME); renewable diesel, including hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and Fischer-Tropsch synthetic diesel from biomass gasification; sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which comes in various forms including hydroprocessed fats or oils blended in concentrations up to 50 percent with fossil jet fuel, alcohol-to-jet, and eFuels made from renewable electricity and CO2; and marine biofuel, which is most often either FAME or HVO blended with very-low sulfur fuel oil. It would be foolish to think everyone producing or promoting these fuels, which compete for feedstock and sometimes market share— with SAF being the only one of these suitable for use in aviation—got along harmoniously with their competitors in the broader biobased diesel space. Biodiesel producers, for instance, have lost market share and feedstock to renewable diesel, not necessarily because

By Ron Kotrba

The entire world seems to have accepted sustainable aviation fuel as the most immediate and effective way to cut carbon emissions from the aviation industry. Karl W. Feilder, the founder of Neutral Fuels, thinks otherwise.

renewable diesel is a better fuel. Sometimes policy distortions are the reason the market plays out the way it does. But one man, Karl W. Feilder—a biodiesel producer from the United Arab Emirates—has perhaps become the most outspoken critic of SAF. Biobased Diesel™ asked Feilder, whose social-media posts lament against a position on SAF the whole world seems to have adopted, to participate in a Q&A in that bygone spirit of fostering broader thinking. We may not always agree. But we can listen and learn, and hopefully achieve greater understanding. Below are the results of this interaction.

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [43]

Q: For those who may not know you, could you start by telling me about yourself, Neutral Fuels, and its business model? A: Neutral Fuels celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2021. As the largest producer of biodiesel in the Middle East, we now have three biorefineries in the region—Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Dubai—and we also have one in Delhi, India. We believe our disruptive approach to the biofuels industry is the only long-term sustainable solution to providing a replacement for fossil diesel—and a drop-in solution at that. Our philosophy is simple: Biofuels should be produced and used as close as possible to the source of their raw materials, cutting out the aggregators, transporters and middlemen both upstream and downstream, essentially making city-scale biofuel financially viable. By removing upstream and downstream transportation charges and middlemen commissions, the Neutral Fuels model is more than able to match any theoretical financial advantages of mega-scale production. Our closed-loop collection and delivery system adds another layer of financial streamlining. Being an active participant in local markets gives us local knowledge that leads to other highly significant advantages. These include sourcing directly from the local raw-materials producers to allow for a bidirectional flow of quality and yield data, and the advantage of being able to segregate at source to allow the precise tracking of raw material by providers and optimized production chemistry. We are actively expanding across Africa and the Middle East, which, according to the United Nations, is currently home to approximately 20 percent of the world’s population and has the fastest populationgrowth rate. As many of the people living in these countries traditionally have a diet with a high fried-food content, the region is a significant user of cooking oil (UCO). Q: The world over—governments, airlines, engine makers, aerospace companies, fuel manufacturers and shippers, among others—is embracing and pushing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). What is your position on SAF? A: If you took all the daily UCO from just one of the best-known quick-service restaurants in the UAE to completely fuel an Airbus A380, the aircraft could fly about 80 miles before running out of fuel. According to Emirates’ website in April 2022, the airline currently operates 115 of these aircraft and, according to the International Air

Feilder says if all the daily UCO from just one of the best-known quick-service restaurants in the UAE were to completely fuel an Airbus A380, like the Emirates plane shown here, the aircraft could fly about 80 miles before running out of fuel.


Transportation Association, there are over 5,000 airlines currently registered—so how many more aircraft are there? So, you see how much fuel the aviation industry uses. And don’t forget that UCO is already being used to power the very delivery trucks that deliver the food to those restaurants in the first place. In 1776, Adam Smith wrote, “The learned ignore the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of the ideas of their imagination.” This is exactly what is happening with the aviation industry today. It is unsustainable aviation fuel. All the evidence shows it is not capable of being sustained, as there is an insufficient supply of raw materials globally. The April 2022 Barclays Capital research paper on SAF sums it up well: “Limited sustainable feedstock supplies create competing interests with the global food supply and with the decarbonization of road and marine transports.” The world can choose to use biofuels to decarbonize either the road or marine or aviation industries, but not all three. And with a 20-year head start and existing mega-scale biodiesel facilities already running out of rawmaterial supplies to satisfy the demand of the road-haulage industry, the evidence is already in plain sight. Q: Is your position on this the same, whether it’s SAF from UCO, canola oil, animal fats or soybean oil, or is it specifically SAF from UCO that is problematic to you? A: Since the European Union introduced a biodiesel mandate in 2003, there has been a very well-publicized argument over “food for fuel,” which has translated into complex “Indirect Land Use Change” mathematics, which have only served to muddy the waters. Simply put, it is obscene to suggest that we should be growing crops for fuel while we cannot feed our global population. While many would regard this as “moral sentimentalism,” it is actually a far simpler supply and demand economic statement—globally there is insufficient farming land available to grow all the food we need and, without significant changes to the human diet, it will never be financially viable to divert the produce of that land to fuel rather than food. The distortions to the “food for fuel” argument caused by political subsidies to the biofuels industry will be increasingly unpopular, as the dramatic direct and indirect effects of climate change increase in severity. As with many examples of the climate-change challenge, these will be global in cause and effect. The current ban on exports

It’s not so much a question of how, but rather where raw materials are used, according to Feilder.

of palm-oil products from Indonesia, directly resulting from the financial and supply-chain chaos caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is an obvious example of this. It will never be morally or economically right to make biofuels from virgin oils. The only sources that come close to balancing global supply and demand are those arising from waste materials—rendered animal fats and fats, oils and greases (FOG) from sewage, industrial byproducts, and waste vegetable oils. And these sources are predominantly already being used to solve climate-change problems created by road transportation. Q: Some make a marked distinction between standalone SAF plants and large petroleum refiners coprocessing a relatively small portion of biogenic feedstock—a small volume to the oil refiner, but a significant amount to the UCO and bio markets—with petroleum crude or distillate cuts before hydrotreating. How do you view these two different routes to SAF? Is one “better” than the other, and why? A: None of these production routes is scalable if the raw materials are already being used elsewhere. The only economic solution to this classic supply-and-demand nexus is to pay more for the raw materials, which is arguably the main reason that socalled sustainable aviation fuels are up to five times more expensive than their fossil fuelderived alternatives—yet another factor that makes them unviable. Q: Can you specifically address how you view the difference between UCO that goes into SAF production and helps fuel airplanes transporting cargo or people, and UCO that is used for methyl ester biodiesel production and used in ground transport such as trucks? Both modes of transport—heavy-duty ground and air—are largely fueled by petroleum distillates, so why should it matter to people whether this biogenic feedstock goes to one or the other? A: It is not simply a question of whether the raw materials should be used to fuel trucks or aircraft. With a global limit on the supply of raw-material input, it would be most sensible to promote the most efficient use of these. When considering the problem globally, as we must with any realistic approach to address climate change, the real question is, “Where are these raw materials best used?”

It is simply not logical to transport the raw materials halfway around the world to make an allegedly “green” fuel—whether for road or aviation use—when those same raw materials could have been utilized in the very city where they originated without exacerbating climate change in the process. The road-transport industry, by way of the biodiesel mandates in existence for almost two decades, is already making extremely good use of biodiesel. And with almost 75 percent of the required raw material for the European biodiesel industry being imported— which is about as pointless as it’s possible to be—the proof of the unavailability of the feedstock is already obvious.

Q: How would you respond to some who might view your position as selfserving? After all, you have a vested interest in bucking this movement, particularly since UCO supplies are finite and this grand uptake for SAF puts serious upward pressure on UCO pricing. A: Oh, I definitely have a vested interest— it is as a human being living on the only planet we humans have. And, as an engineer, I know an efficient solution when I see it— it’s why I created one. I’ve been making a difference in this industry since 2009 and if I believed there was a better way to use UCO to solve climate change, I would be doing it. And, as I’ve already explained, the volume of

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [45]

Neutral Fuels has gotten more involved in the market of marine biofuel, a blend of its UCO-derived biodiesel and verylow sulfur fuel oil, by partnering with companies in the Middle East and North Africa region.

biofuel that aircraft need to make a difference renders biofuel from UCO unworkable. Q: What is your opinion of so-called eFuels, SAF for instance made not from fats, oils and greases but rather from CO2 and green electricity? A: I would like to see someone pursuing the viability of eFuels, and every other possibility for a viable option. I’ll make myself available to share the knowledge we’ve gained at Neutral Fuels if it can help in any way, but my main focus remains on a solution that is already making a very significant difference. Q: SAF is largely considered the only fueling option to help decarbonize aviation today. If this is irresponsible in your eyes, then what other fueling options are commercially available to accomplish this? A: Before I answer that question, I hope you’ve understood from everything I’ve said that it’s not so much about being irresponsible, but about being unviable with current offerings. As for decarbonizing aviation, I don’t think anyone is paying enough attention to the fact that [46]

Covid taught us we can do business very successfully without flying around the world. We need a quantum leap now and if we’re to make a significant difference to climate change, we need to make a significant difference to our behavior. Q: What is next for Neutral Fuels? A: Our R&D continues apace. We have accumulated a great deal of useful knowledge over the past decade and we’re very aware of our responsibility to use it wisely for the continued improvement of how we use the planet’s resources. And as I’ve said, we are actively expanding across the Middle East. Our ongoing growth plans are made easy by our city-scale business model. We’re very focused on saving the planet.

Author: Ron Kotrba Editor, Biobased Diesel™ 218-745-8347

Biobased DieselTM Summer 2022 [47]


customized perfection

for highest yield more than 2,000,000 t biodiesel per year

measurable solutions for

CO2 reduction [48]

BDI has built numerous biodiesel plants worldwide with a total installed production capacity of more than 2 million tons of biodiesel per year. This allows 2.7 million cars to be operated in a CO2-neutral manner.