Facility in Southern California for Fourth Quarter 2017
UrbanX is applying $5 million in California Energy Commission funding to help convert idle equipment at a Los Angeles-area petroleum refinery into a biorefinery capable of producing 30 million gallons per year of renewable diesel – solely from spent restaurant cooking oils – by the fourth quarter of 2017.
The economically competitive product will be a 100% drop-in, ASTM D975-compliant fuel, the company says. Work has begun to modify an existing 4.5-acre facility in South Gate, Calif. to make UrbanX renewable diesel.
‘Feedstock Aggregation Network’ Is in Place
Technology from partners including Chevron-Ara and Matheson Tri-Gas will allow Long Beach-based UrbanX to convert not only the yellow grease used for conventional FAME/fatty acid methyl ester biodiesel, but also the “brown grease” that’s not suitable for conventional biodiesel, says UrbanX president Bruce Melgar.
“Our true competitive advantage is our ability to use 100% free fatty acid material,” he says.
“We’re able to use that material,” he adds. “There’s no other direct market for it.”
A CI in the Low Teens
UrbanX will draw on a “feedstock aggregation network” established during its days as a conventional biodiesel producer, Melgar says. “We collect oil from 3,600 accounts in Southern California,” he told F&F.
UrbanX won’t have it officially until its plant is in operation for at least one quarter, but Melgar says he anticipates a California Air Resources Board CI/carbon intensity number of 12 to 14.
Renewable diesel produced by Neste in Singapore has a CARB CI number as low as 33 (depending on feedstock), while conventional petroleum-based diesel is in the 90s.
‘Cost Per Gallon Is Significantly Lower’
A CI in the low teens will stand the company in strong stead in LCFS and other carbon credit markets.
But even without such credits, UrbanX intends to be cost-competitive. “Our cost per gallon is significantly lower than biodiesel and competing renewable diesel products,” Melgar says.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels interview & follow-up