Oil company giant ConocoPhillips is teaming up with food giant Tyson to start selling biodiesel. According to this article on CNet News.com, the project would combine a plentiful resource Tyson has… animal fat… with a seemingly plentiful ConocoPhillips resource… money:
Tyson formed a renewable-energy division last year. The company generates about 2.3 billion pounds of animal fat a year in its operations. The companies estimate that the operation could result in 175 million gallons of biodiesel a year. ConocoPhillips said it will invest $100 million in this project.
While you might think this would be good news, the National Biodiesel Board is not happy. According to this article in the Houston Chronicle, ConocoPhillips would be able to take advantage of a recent IRS decision that allows big oil companies to cash in on the nearly $1-a-gallon tax credit originally created to help the fledgling biodiesel industry get off the ground (see my previous post on the subject here):
“We’re not opposed to refiners converting a portion of their capacity into renewable capacity,” Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, said during a conference call with reporters Monday. “But we believe it’s bad public policy for taxpayers who are paying as much as $3 for a gallon of gasoline to have their taxes pay another dollar for this.”
ConocoPhillips officials say they need the money to keep the operation profitable.