Vertex Energy cuts ribbon on first renewable diesel unit

By Vertex Energy Inc. | May 01, 2023

Vertex Energy Inc., a leading specialty refiner and marketer of high-quality refined products, cut the ribbon on its first renewable diesel facility at the company's Mobile refinery and the first renewable diesel facility in Alabama on April 28. The ceremony also served as a commissioning event, with Vertex leaders and team members joined by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Mobile County Commissioner, Merceria Ludgood, and Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce President, Bradley Byrne, as well as other special guests.

In 2022, Vertex undertook a bold initiative, acquiring a conventional fuels refinery from Shell plc, immediately launching a $115 million conversion project. The primary aim of this project was to convert a standalone unit within the refinery to facilitate the production of renewable diesel, a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to petroleum diesel fuel.

The ambitious project reached mechanical completion on March 31st of this year. The newly converted renewable diesel unit is specifically designed to produce renewable diesel fuel, which can be seamlessly integrated as a direct replacement for traditional petroleum diesel. At present, soybean oil serves as the primary feedstock for the production process. However, the facility has been engineered to accommodate the use of other organic waste oils in the future.

Alabama's soybean farmers will play a crucial role in supplying the feedstock, along with other suppliers across the country. The collaboration between Vertex and these suppliers is expected to help strengthen the local agricultural sector and help foster a stable transition to renewable energy sources.

The commissioning of Vertex's renewable diesel unit marks a significant milestone in the company's ongoing journey toward providing sustainable energy solutions. Furthermore, this project, together with Vertex's commitment to continue supporting existing infrastructure through conventional fuels production, seeks to provide stability around the energy transition in a way that promotes energy security, while underscoring the company's commitment to environmental responsibility.

Vertex CEO Benjamin P. Cowart declared, "We're not just cutting ribbons; we're cutting emissions. We're also carving a new path for this site, this city, and the Great State of Alabama. The opportunity to bring this kind of innovation to my hometown and the state of Alabama is incredibly meaningful. I believe this is just the beginning, as we progress on our commitment to a cleaner environment by creating a sustainable growth path for the energy transition."

To support the local community during the upgrade of the refinery, Vertex worked closely with local engineering firms and other contractors. The project resulted in an estimated $4 million in local workforce spending and the support of 600 construction jobs, as the team achieved over 450,000 work hours without any OSHA reportable incidents. Vertex's safety incentive program, which allows Vertex employees and contractors to allocate dollars to Make-A-Wish Alabama for every OSHA injury-free workday completed during the turnaround, reached its target of 12 wishes granted for a total of $120,000.

Governor Ivey called the project "a testament to Alabama's ingenuity and resilience," highlighting Vertex's embrace of new technologies while providing the traditional fuels on which Alabamians depend, and the company’s ability to support and maintain 200+ Alabama jobs and grow them by another 5% to date. Governor Ivey also underscored the additional benefits of providing price support for Alabama farmers. "By sourcing feedstock locally within our own state, Vertex fosters economic growth opportunities from farm-to-facility and offers low-carbon fuel products that contribute to a cleaner environment, not only here in our beautiful Alabama, but across the nations where these products are sold," continued Governor Ivey.



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