Tyson, Syntroleum Open Biofuels Plant

November 8, 2010 | Operations are finally underway at the Tyson Foods, Inc., and Syntroleum Corporation joint renewable diesel fuel plant in Geismar, LA. Production began in early October at the Dynamic Fuels plant, with 2,500 barrels of the biofuel being produced each day, and growing, using animal fats and greases.

“We’re very pleased with the progress of the plant and the quality of the fuel it’s producing,” said Jeff Webster, group vice president of Tyson’s Renewable Products Divison. As of early November, the plant has manufactured renewable diesel with a cloud point as low as minus 26 degrees Fahrenheit and cetane as high as 88, more than twice that of the ASTM International petroleum diesel specification. The facility’s renewable diesel fuel product meets all ASTM D975 specifications for diesel fuel.

Dymamic Fuels, LLC, a 50/50 joint venture of Syntroleum and Tyson, has been making jet fuel for testing by the Air Force Research Laboratory. According to the company, this is the first renewable jet fuel to be tested by the Air Force that has been produced in a domestic commercial scale facility.

The plant uses non-food grade animal fats produced or procured by Tyson Foods, such as beef tallow, pork lard, chicken fat, and greases. The plant is designed to produce up to 75 million gallons of renewable fuels per year, and currently has 44 permanent full-time positions onsite, and maintains 13 full-time start-up support personnel.

Tyson and Syntroleum officials remain hopeful 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, which would help the economic feasibility of the operation and help recover development costs.