A joint venture between Tyson Foods and Syntroleum is investing $150 million for a plant that will convert beef tallow and pork and chicken fat into diesel fuel. Once operational, the goal is to produce 75 million gallons of animal fat-based biofuel each year. Located at Geismar, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge the plant could employ about 300 workers.
The feedstock for the fuel production will come from slaughterhouses across the country to make a fuel that has been said to contain less particulate matter, meaning it should generate less air pollution. It also can be used in standard diesel engines.
Considering the fact about nine to ten billion farms animals are killed for consumption in the United States each year, there should be an ample supply of animal fats for such a plant. The U.S. uses about 58 billion gallons of diesel fuel each year, but 75 million gallons is less than two percent of that total. Will it make a difference?
It might be beneficial to the Louisiana economy if it turns out to be a sustainable business. Air pollution wherever the fuel is used will likely also be reduced but at this point it isn’t clear how much. It was announced recently the plant already has an agreement to supply their diesel fuel to a railroad company to run trains, “We look forward to working with Norfolk Southern to lower their emissions and increase the renewable content of the fuel they burn. Renewable diesel is a sustainable, ultra clean burning, high cetane fuel that reduces carbon emissions and significantly reduces particulates and NOx when combusted in existing diesel engines,” said a Syntroleum official. (Source: PRNewswire)
One question arises though – wouldn’t it be better to be able to make fuel at or near the slaughterhouses in different parts of country rather than burning conventional fuel during transport to Louisiana to make a form of biodiesel?
Image Credit: FotoosvanRobin, Wiki Commons