GEISMAR, LA - Operations are underway at the new Dynamic Fuels plant, which converts animal fats and greases into renewable fuels, officials from Syntroleum Corp. and Tyson Foods Inc. said this week. Production began in early October and the plant's production volume is 2,500 barrels per day and growing. 

Dynamic Fuels LLC is a 50/50 joint venture of Syntroleum and Tyson. The firm uses non-food grade animal fats and greases to produce renewable diesel fuel. 

"We're very pleased with the progress at the plant and the quality of the fuel it's producing," said Jeff Webster, group vice president of Tyson's renewable products division. "This fuel offers the same benefits of synthetic fuels derived from coal or natural gas, including substantial performance and environmental advantages over petroleum-based fuels."  

To date, the Geismar, La., plant has manufactured renewable diesel with a cloud point as low as minus 26°F and cetane as high as 88 -- more than twice that of the ASTM petroleum diesel specification. The facility's renewable diesel fuel product meets all ASTM D975 specifications for diesel fuel.  

The first shipments of fuel started leaving the plant in October. "There's been tremendous interest in our fuels and so far our customers include a range of fuel distributors and end users, including the U.S. military," said Bob Ames, vice president of Renewable Energy for Tyson Foods. 

Tyson and Syntroleum officials said they 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.  

"More consistent and timely action by Congress on this and other biofuels tax credits is needed to provide stability and encourage the growth of the advanced biofuels industry, which is poised to help reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil," said Webster. 

The new facility uses Syntroleum's Bio-Synfining technology to produce the renewable fuels from 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.