Fuel From Fiber

Cindy Zimmerman

ValcoA reader alerted us to the impending opening of VALCO Bio Energy in Harlingen, Texas – the first plant to use cottonseed oil as a base stock for manufacturing biodiesel.

Valley Coop Oil Mill announced the project last fall and is expected to open the plant this spring.

Southeast Farm Press did a story earlier this year with Valco CEO Hollis Sullivan, who was at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans talking about the opportunities for biodiesel production to add value to cottonseed.

“An energy efficient plant is a goal,” said Sullivan. “We want to see what can be done. We can fill up trucks with bio-fuel when they bring in cotton. But we’re also looking for other opportunities. In 20 years, anyone who does not seize available opportunities will be left behind. We’re interested in adding anything that adds value to the crop.”

Sullivan said the Harlingen Co-op will be the first cottonseed mill with a bio-diesel plant. But he doesn’t expect it to be the only one. Anyone interested in following their lead, he said, “should do their homework. Study other bio-diesel plants and either build close to the raw material or make arrangements for a consistent supply.”