NYC’s First Large-Scale Biodiesel Plant Coming

John Davis

unitedmetro1The first large-scale biodiesel in New York City could soon become a reality. This article from the New York World says former Republican mayoral candidate and Gristedes magnate John Catsimatidis is resurrecting the Metro Fuel Oil project.

Catsimatidis-owned United Biofuels is seeking approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for a permit to convert an existing fuel-storage facility on Newtown Creek to take vegetable oil and turn it into fuel that can power diesel-burning vehicles.

Catsimatidis seized the opportunity to acquire the biodiesel operation in the midst of his 2013 campaign, buying it from bankrupt Metro Fuel Oil Corporation and promising to preserve 130 employees’ jobs.

“We wanted to buy a piece of it,” Catsimatidis said in a phone interview. “Before we knew it, we owned the entire thing. By accident, we bought it.”

Metro Fuel Oil had been granted $10 million in bond financing and other benefits from the New York City Industrial Development Agency in 2007 to construct the biodiesel facility but went bust before it could finish the job.

Officials say the refinery would produce between 40 and 50 million gallons of biodiesel per year, and they hope to have it open by the end of this year.