Valero, Darling planning major “renewable diesel” refinery in Port Arthur TX

[Editor:  I suppose this is almost good news – although in the manufacture and ultimate burning of these “renewable” fuels, large amounts of CO2 and other pollutants are produced, contributing to our climate emergency in the same way as fossil fuels.  (Thanks for the clarification, AZ!)  I wonder … could Valero’s Benicia Refinery be converted someday to production of RENEWABLE fuels?  Also, I’m curious about San Francisco’s 2015 plan to convert its municipal fleet from petroleum to renewable diesel by the end of the year.  Did it happen?  – R.S.]
Houston Chronicle, by Jordan Blum, September 9, 2019
The Valero refinery in Port Arthur.>> Click through the following gallery to see the world's largest refineries. Photo: Jon Shapley, Staff Photographer / Staff Photographer / © 2018 Houston Chronicle
The Valero refinery in Port Arthur. Photo: Jon Shapley, Staff Photographer / Staff Photographer

Valero Energy and Darling Ingredients said Monday they’re planning to build a massive renewable diesel refinery in Port Arthur.

The companies, which have a 50-50 joint venture called Diamond Green Diesel, would build the first-ever renewable diesel plant in Texas. They’re currently in the early engineering and cost review stages, so the project isn’t definitely going forward, but it’s clear they want to make the project happen.

Renewable diesel is a much cleaner product that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels, instead making diesel out of waste animal fats and waste vegetable oils, including used cooking oil and inedible corn oil.

Renewable diesel uses similar ingredients as biofuels, but it is more chemically similar to crude oil-based diesel and can more easily be used in conventional engines without as many blending ingredients.

Valero Chief Executive Joe Gorder said he expected more political mandates for low-carbon fuels across the globe to continue to drive demand growth for renewable diesel fuels.

Darling CEO Randall Stuewe added, “The demand for a low-carbon fuel solution continues to grow, as markets move to reduce their carbon intensity. Leveraging its proven technology, (Diamond Green Diesel) continues to adapt and expand production to address that need for the benefit of our environment, our customers and our shareholders.”

RELATED: Valero Energy’s renewable diesel refinery to see $1.1B in upgrades

San Antonio-based Valero and Dallas’ Darling first teamed up to build a small renewable diesel plant outside of New Orleans, and now they’re dramatically expanding that refinery.

The project proposed for an undisclosed location in Port Arthur would churn out 400 million gallons of renewable diesel per year, or 1.1 million gallons daily.

The companies don’t expect to make a final decision and commence construction until 2021 and the refinery wouldn’t open until 2024.