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Tyson Foods, Syntroleum Partner to Turn Grease into Fuel

Dynamic Fuels, a 50/50 joint venture of Syntroleum and Tyson Foods, has opened the first U.S. commercial-scale biofuel production plant that converts animal fats and greases into renewable fuels.

Tyson Foods has nearly met its goal, announced in 2008, to convert its animal byproducts to 75 million gallons of biodiesel and jet fuel annually by 2010. Production started in October and volume is currently at 2,500 barrels per day. The plant is designed to produce up to 75 million gallons of renewable fuels per year.

Dynamic Fuels uses non-food grade animal fats and greases to produce fuel, unlike ethanol and biodiesel industries that use foods such as corn and soybean oil. The facility’s renewable diesel fuel product meets all ASTM D975 specifications for diesel fuel.

The new facility uses Syntroleum’s Bio-Synfining technology to produce the renewable fuels from non-food grade animal fats produced or procured by Tyson Foods, such as beef tallow, pork lard, chicken fat and greases. Click here to see a video of the Dynamic Fuels operations.

“This fuel offers the same benefits of synthetic fuels derived from coal or natural gas, including substantial performance and environmental advantages over petroleum-based fuels,” said Jeff Webster, group vice president of Tyson’s Renewable Products Division, in a statement.

According to Gary Roth, chief executive officer of Syntroleum, the Geismar, Louisiana, plant produces some of the highest quality diesel fuel in the world, and has a carbon footprint 75 percent below petroleum diesel.

Customers include fuel distributors and end users such as the U.S. military. Dynamic Fuels has been making jet fuel for testing by the Air Force Research Laboratory, the first to be produced in a domestic commercial scale facility, according to the company.

The company also is targeting a variety of other applications such as dry cleaning, ink cartridges and drilling fluids with its renewable, specialty distillate products.

Tyson and Syntroleum officials hope Congress will restore the $1 per gallon renewable diesel tax credit that expired in December 2009. Fuel from the Geismar plant qualifies for the credit.

All kinds of biofuels are becoming a hot commodity. Case-in-point: In October, EL reported that thieves from New Jersey to North Carolina were stealing used cooling oil, with prices pegged around $1.90 per gallon for the used oil.

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