Unlike biodiesel, renewable diesel has identical chemical properties to conventional diesel and can be used as a direct replacement

World's biggest renewable diesel plant to be built in US

Bioenergy company SG Preston plans to build the world’s biggest purpose-built renewable diesel plant, making fuel from feedstock waste.

The $400m (£238m) project, to be completed by 2017, aims to produce 120 million gallons (546 million litres) of renewable diesel per year and create 100 permanent jobs in Lawrence County, Ohio, the USA, where it will be located.

Unlike biodiesel, renewable diesel, produced through hydrocracking vegetable oils and animal fats, has the same chemical properties as petroleum-based diesel and can thus be used as an immediate replacement of the fossil fuel.

However, its high production costs mean renewable diesel has so far not been competitive with its petroleum-based counterpart.

"For SG Preston, this is an important milestone and part of a larger vision of partnering with leading, global refining technology partners and local communities to develop a portfolio of renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel refineries targeting 1.2 billion gallons per year," said R. Delbert LeTang, CEO of SG Preston.

A key component of the facility's development is the licensing by SG Preston of an advanced processing technology which has been successfully proven at commercial scale at other locations.

Moreover, this technology allows SG Preston to customise its biofuel offering by adjusting fuel characteristics to meet various operating environments (extreme cold or heat) of the end user without diluting energy content in the fuel blend. This technologically advanced process also delivers lifecycle reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with diesel from petroleum.

Pre-engineering studies for the facility are expected to begin in September 2014, with commercial operations targeted for 2017.

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