More Biodiesel Plants Switching to Animal Fats

John Davis

As the price of the main feedstock for biodiesel… soybeans… continues to rise, more producers are switching to alternatives, especially animal fats.

This story in the Des Moines (IA) Register says the change might help solve the food-versus-fuel debate:

Renewable Energy Group (REG) of Ames now runs animal fats in at least four of its seven biodiesel plants in the state, according to Gary Haer, vice president of sales and marketing.

He says the animal fat fuel works well in the diesel market, whether it’s blended at 5 percent, 10 percent or 20 percent with regular diesel.

“Biodiesel made from animal fats is a very good product, and we are using it as one of our alternatives to soybean oil,” Haer said.

Another biodiesel group, Benefuel, which uses an India-developed technology to process the animal fat, is scouting the state for investors and plant sites.

The article goes on to point out that Iowa is a natural place for an animal-fat biodiesel plant since the state is such a large producer of cattle and hogs, and the fats would be available from the rendering plants.

But don’t think that animal fats, just like soybeans, will be immune to price hikes. The price for this new commodity has jumped 8 to 9 percent this year.