Innovation: Using Animal Fat to Produce Biodiesel

Lynne Kiesling

Conoco Phillips and Tyson Foods are going to announce a new joint venture today. They:

… will announce a strategic alliance … to produce and market the next generation of renewable diesel fuel, which will help supplement the traditional petroleum-based diesel fuel supply. The alliance plans to use beef, pork and poultry by-product fat to create a transportation fuel. This fuel will contribute to America’s energy security and help to address climate change concerns.

Over the last year, the companies have been collaborating on ways to leverage Tyson’s advanced knowledge in protein chemistry and production with ConocoPhillips’ processing and marketing expertise to introduce a renewable diesel to the United States. Tyson will make capital improvements this summer in order to begin pre-processing animal fat from some of its North American rendering facilities later in the year. ConocoPhillips also will begin the necessary capital expenditures to enable it to produce the fuel in several of its refineries. The finished product will be renewable diesel fuel mixtures that meet all federal standards for ultra-low-sulfur diesel. Production is expected to ramp up over time to as much as 175 million gallons per year of renewable diesel.

This may be an interesting innovation. Animal fat does store a lot of energy.


5 thoughts on “Innovation: Using Animal Fat to Produce Biodiesel

  1. Alas, biodiesel increases smog producing NOx:

    http://www.memagazine.org/contents/current/features/lookfire/lookfire.html

    Actually, this is not that big a deal. Once engineers figure out the best way to combust biodiesel to minimize NOx, they can add a sensor to the fuel system to tell the engine computer how much biodiesel is in the tank, and adjust the fuel injection system accordingly.

    However, because of the NOx problem, no diesel engine manufacturer currently allows more than B5 to be used (95% diesel, 5% biodiesel).

    Even so, B5 is pretty rare (except in Minnesota, where all diesel is B5 by law). So Connoco has a lot of room to expand the market.

  2. Oh no! Now the energy-consumers are going to drive up the cost of fatty foods!

    I forsee lean days ahead.

  3. Well, we need to find a new market for all those banned trans-fats 🙂

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