San Fran Grease-to-Biodiesel Plant Gets Green Light

John Davis

After being stalled for the past couple of years, it looks like a San Francisco facility that will turn used cooking oil into biodiesel will finally become a reality.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the city’s Port Commission has finally given the green light to the Darling International, Inc. 10-million-gallon-per-year plant on San Francisco’s waterfront:

Darling has been operating at Pier 92 since the 1960s, and already creates tallow by melting down bones, grease and other animal waste products from meatpacking facilities, grocers and restaurants. The tallow is then sold and used to make soap and animal feed, but will now also be used to produce biofuel.

The plan received unanimous support from the commission Tuesday after a brief round of largely supportive public comment.

“We’re taking a local waste product, converting it locally into biofuel that will be used locally to create local green jobs,” Mark Westlund, spokesman for the city’s Department of Environment, told commissioners. “That’s about as green as you can get.”

San Francisco uses a blend of biodiesel in all of its 1,500 diesel vehicles, but the fuel is often delivered by truck or rail from as far away as the Midwest. The city’s goal is to get all of its biofuel from local sources.

Darling made some concessions from the original plan, first proposed back in 2008, to address neighborhood concerns about the chemicals that are used to produce biodiesel.

Last month, Darling announced a deal where the company bought another renderer that also had a biodiesel operation.