Carbon is the Buzzword

Biodiesel Magazine Editor Anna Simet discusses content in the Winter 2022 issue.
By Anna Simet | December 22, 2021

There are currently 27 fully operational, commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects operating around the world, with 100-plus more in various stages of development, according to the Global CCS institute. The range of industries deploying CCS is diverse, from coal gasification and power generation to fertilizer plants, natural gas processing, steel and ethanol facilities. And, if all goes according to plan, a renewable diesel plant will be added to the list.

In Caldwell Parish, Louisiana, aptly named Strategic Biofuels will serve an outlet for forest waste alongside a declining pulp and paper and paper sector, gasifying about 1 million tons per year that will ultimately be converted into renewable diesel. It will also deploy CCS, which will serve as the project cornerstone. Going Low in Louisiana on page 16, by Biodiesel Magazine’s Tom Bryan, gives readers a detailed account of the company’s plans, business model and strategy behind the $1.5 billion project (at its core are a reasonably priced, abundant feedstock and state and federal incentives). Sized at 33.7 MMgy, the facility is modest in comparison to some of the massive projects operating or planned in North America. But Strategic Biofuels CEO Paul Schubert tells Bryan the economics of the project are actually driven the by CO2 sequestration. “That’s fundamentally how we’re different,” he says. 

Speaking of projects under development, you’ll find a comprehensive list in our North American renewable diesel project roundup, “Pillars of New Production,” on page 22. Growth in renewable diesel, even in just the past year, is pretty astounding. At the same time in 2020, Biodiesel Magazine reported there were 14 existing, under construction or planned renewable diesel/sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) facilities with a total of 5.5 billion gallons of capacity. By the end of 2021, that number jumped to 26, with the total of operational, under construction and proposed capacity increasing by over 1 billion gallons, with California unsurprisingly becoming home to the most, with five, closely followed by Louisiana.

Our third feature, “Where Ag and oil Mix,” by freelance writer Susanne Retka Schill, dives into ADM’s soybean crushing facility under construction in Spiritwood, North Dakota, and its relationship with Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s operational renewable diesel and naphtha plant in Dickinson. Located about 200 miles directly west, soybean oil produced at the crushing plant will be used as a feedstock at the Dickinson refinery. Related to that, an interesting point that Kenneth Campbell, ADM president of North American Oils and Biodiesel, makes—once again, finding us back on the topic of carbon intensity (CI)—is that the bulk of soybean oil’s CI comes from transportation and processing, and there is “a significant opportunity for the entire market to address regenerative ag, better farming practices, no till practices.” He adds that farmers need incentives to think about strategies to reduce these CI ratings, and gives an example of oilseed cover crops as an idea to help do so. MPC has similar viewpoints, and has been evaluating the installation of a CO2 capture and sequestration system at the Dickinson facility. Justin Womeldorff, MPC renewables business manager, adds, “We continue to explore projects at our Dickinson facility that have to the potential to help us producer a net-zero fuel there.” 

Author: Anna Simet
Biodiesel Magazine

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