Diamond Green Diesel expanding to 275M gallon capacity to meet booming renewable diesel demand

March 19, 2017 |

In Louisiana, the Diamond Green Diesel facility in Norco will expand its annual production capacity of renewable diesel from 10,000 barrels per day to 18,000 bpd (275 million gallons per year), using Honeywell UOP’s Ecofining process technology.

We originally reported that the project, which came to light in August 2016, as a project scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2017, with production expected to ramp-up in the first quarter of 2018. Now, Diamond Green Diesel plans to complete the expansion in the second quarter of 2018.

Diamond Green Diesel, which is owned by Valero Energy Corp. and Darling Ingredients Inc., is the largest commercial advanced biofuel facility in the United States.

The Diamond Green backstory

Honeywell UOP jointly developed the Ecofining process with Eni SpA. It converts non-edible natural oils and animal fats to Honeywell Green Diesel, which offers improved performance over biodiesel and petroleum-based diesel. It features a cetane value of 80, compared with a cetane range of 40 to 60 found in diesel at the pump today.

Diamond Green Diesel plant in Norco. LA

Cetane values indicate how quickly and completely diesel fuel will burn. Higher-cetane diesel fuel provides better engine performance with fewer emissions. High-cetane diesel can be blended with cheaper low-cetane diesel to meet transportation standards. Honeywell Green Diesel also offers excellent performance at cold or warm temperatures.

The Diamond Green Diesel facility converts inedible oils and other waste feedstocks to produce Honeywell Green Diesel, a high-quality renewable fuel. Unlike biodiesel, renewable diesel produced using the Ecofining process is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel and can be used as a drop-in replacement in vehicles with no modifications. It also features up to an 80-percent lifecycle reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with diesel from petroleum.

The Biomass-Based Diesel Boom

Could renewable diesel’s boom be cut short by feedstock access and availability? we asked in  this August 2016 report

Could renewable diesel’s boom be cut short by feedstock access and availability?

Fuel produced at the facility is qualified as “Biomass-Based Diesel,” an Advanced Biofuel under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires a minimum volume of transportation fuels sold in the U.S. to contain renewable fuel as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Ecofining process produces green diesel or green jet fuel from a range of sustainable feedstocks. The developers note that it is:

▪ Is feedstock flexible: Process a wide range of oils and fat, without limiting sourcing capability to one type of feed.

▪ Reduces costs and risks of compliance: Make renewable fuels instead of buying them

▪ Has high yields.

▪ Has attractive economics with what Honeywell describes as “impressive payback: High IRR with moderate capital cost”.

▪ Can work as a standalone or as part of an integrated plant: leverage existing infrastructure to reduce capital and operating cost

The Honeywell UOP backstory

In addition to Ecofining technology, Honeywell has commercialized the UOP Renewable Jet Fuel Process, which originally was developed under a contract with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to produce renewable jet fuel for the U.S. military. Honeywell Green Jet Fuel produced by this process technology can be blended seamlessly with petroleum-based fuel. When used in up to a 50-percent blend with petroleum-based jet fuel, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel requires no changes to aircraft technology and meets all critical specifications for flight.

Honeywell Green Jet Fuel can be blended in a 50/50 ratio and:

▪ Can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65-85% compared with petroleum-based fuels, based on UOP’s lifecycle analysis.

▪ Has shown higher energy density in flight, which allows aircraft to fly farther on less fuel

▪ Meets or exceeds critical jet fuel specifications, such as: flash point, freeze point, stability and heat of combustion

▪ Is a drop-in replacement fuel that requires no changes to aircraft technology or fuel infrastructure

More on Honeywell Green Jet Fuel in our report, “Fly the eco-friendly skies: United to launch 50% jet biofuels on LAX-SFO route”, here.

The Envergent latest

Honeywell UOP also is a partner with Ensyn Corp. in Envergent Technologies LLC, which offers RTP rapid thermal processing technology and equipment for the production of renewable heat, power and transportation fuels.

Last August, we reported that Envergent Technologies had begun construction on a renewable fuels facility in Port Cartier, Quebec. When the facility in Port Cartier, Quebec, is completed late next year, it will convert 65,000 dry metric tons per year of forest residues to approximately 10 million gallons — or approximately 40 million liters — per year of RTP green fuel.

The Cote Nord project is the first purpose-built facility for the production of RTP green fuel for heating, cooling and refinery applications. RTP green fuel has compelling environmental benefits, including displacement of conventional fossil fuels and a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, renewable transportation fuels such as gasoline and diesel made from RTP green fuel have a carbon intensity that is approximately 70 percent less than petroleum-based fuels.

Envergent starts construction at new renewable fuels facility in Quebec

Also see 

What’s U(o)P at UOP? The Renewables story, revealed.

What’s U(o)P at UOP? The Renewables story, revealed.

Lessons from 102 years of licensing: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Honeywell UOP

Lessons from 102 years of licensing: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Honeywell UOP

Reaction from the stakeholders

“The expansion of the Diamond Green Diesel facility is a testament to the viability and growth potential of renewable fuels,” said Dave Cepla, senior director of Honeywell UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals business. “The technology and commercial potential of the Ecofining process have been proven, and the best evidence is the company’s decision to invest in expanded production capacity.”

Ecofining™ Process

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