ConocoPhillips and Tyson Foods Inc. have formed a strategic alliance to produce renewable diesel from the refinery-based processing of waste animal fat. The companies expect to begin production later this year, and ramp up through spring 2009 to generate as much as 175 million gallons of the renewable fuel per year.
The refinery-based process uses a proprietary thermal depolymerization technology, and processes animal fats with hydrocarbon feedstocks to produce a high-quality diesel fuel that is chemically equivalent to petroleum-derived diesel, and meets all federal standards for ultra low-sulfur diesel. The product is not biodiesel—i.e., fatty acid methyl ester—but a second-generation renewable diesel similar to NExBTL or H-Bio.
The addition of animal fat also improves the fuel’s ignition properties, while the processing step improves its storage stability and handling characteristics.
ConocoPhillips, the third-largest US oil company, said it will begin spending to prepare several refineries to process the fuel. Tyson, the world’s largest chicken, beef and pork processor, said it will make capital improvements this summer at some of its rendering plants so it can start pre-processing animal fat.
ConocoPhillips developed the process, and tested it in its Whitegate refinery in Cork, Ireland, in 2006. (Earlier post.) Tyson and ConocoPhillips have successfully tested the process of converting animal fat into renewable diesel.
Tyson said it has access to about 2.3 billion pounds per year of animal fat—the equivalent 20,000 barrels a day of feedstock.
ConocoPhillips last week announced it will establish an eight-year, $22.5 million research program at Iowa State University dedicated to developing technologies that produce biorenewable fuels. Robert C. Brown, the Iowa Farm Bureau Director of Iowa State’s Office of Biorenewables Programs, said ConocoPhillips is especially interested in converting biomass to fuel through fast pyrolysis. The resulting bio-oil can be used as a heating oil or can be converted into transportation fuel at petroleum refineries. (Earlier post.)
ConocoPhillips - Tyson Renewable Diesel Fact Sheet