Biodiesel Plant Opens in the Heart of Oil Country

John Davis

At a point where much of the nation’s petroleum oil flows in and out of port, a biodiesel plant is making its stand to knock off the non-renewable energy source as the fuel of choice for a nation looking to wean itself from petroleum oil dependence.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Iowa-based Renewable Energy Group, one of the biggest biodiesel producers in the country, has opened a 35-million-gallon-a-year biodiesel plant right on the Houston Ship Channel:

The Seabrook plant, known as REG Houston, is the ninth biodiesel production site owned or managed by Renewable Energy Group. Added up, the company either produces or markets more than 300 million gallons of biodiesel per year, about half of U.S. production…

Renewable Energy Group executives in Houston Wednesday for the local plant opening said if the industry is going to keep growing it must convince customers that it is no longer an upstart business. It also must make the case more forcefully that biodiesel can play a role in reducing U.S. petroleum consumption, cleaning the air and providing “green collar” jobs.

“We really believe that biodiesel and ethanol and wind and solar are going to change the way we look at the energy complex in the U.S.,” said Jeffrey Stroburg, chairman and CEO of Renewable Energy Group.

The article points out that the new national biodiesel mandate that requires 500 million gallons of the green fuel be used in 2009, growing to one billion gallons in 2012, has helped the biodiesel industry go from a small industry to a major player in America’s energy future.