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Meat conglomerate and fuel company launch renewable venture

by 5m Editor
10 July 2007, at 7:33am

US - Tyson Foods, Inc., the world’s largest producer and marketer of chicken, beef and pork, is moving closer to its aim of becoming a leader in renewable energy. The company has launched a new venture with the Syntroleum Corporation, a Tulsa-based synthetic fuels technology company, to produce synthetic fuels for the bio-diesel, jet, and military fuel markets.

The 50/50 venture intends to construct and operate multiple stand-alone commercial facilities capable of producing ultra-clean, high quality, next generation renewable synthetic fuels using Syntroleum’s patented Biofining™ process. The raw materials used to produce the fuel will be primarily derived from animal fats, greases, and vegetable oils produced and supplied by Tyson.

“Our venture with Syntroleum represents another significant step forward in our strategy of leveraging Tyson’s access to animal by-products, our trading skills, and industry relationships to become a premier player in renewable energy,” said Richard L. Bond, Tyson president and CEO. “We believe this venture will add value to our business, give animal agriculture another opportunity to participate in the production of renewable fuels and is also an environmentally sound way to contribute to America’s energy security.”

Tyson produces large volumes of by-product including animal fats, beef tallow, pork lard, chicken fat, and greases which can be used as a renewable feedstock for fuel production. The company also intends to use its significant procurement capabilities, industry relationships, and experience in commodity trading and risk avoidance to access feedstocks from other sources. It will also use its transportation and logistics team to coordinate the cost effective movement of the materials.

Significant opportunity
Syntroleum says that its collaboration with Tyson is a significant opportunity. "It allows us to apply our established technologies to produce next generation ultra-clean renewable synthetic fuels that contribute to our nation’s energy independence while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jack Holmes, CEO of Syntroleum.

The fuel company's research and development work has already resulted in multiple patent applications related to its Biofining™ technology for renewable feedstocks. Its pioneering research has targeted expansion into full biomass-to-liquid fuel production, which could potentially incorporate cellulosic biomass, animal waste and other organic materials.

The Tyson venture will yield fuels that offer the additional benefits of higher energy content, better cold-flow properties and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. The unblended fuel can be used in existing diesel engines with no engine modifications required and also can be upgraded into ultra-clean, high quality synthetic jet fuel. They are expected to be completely compatible with existing pipelines, storage facilities and other conventional fuel infrastructures.

The first production facility is expected to produce about 75 million gallons of synthetic fuel annually. Construction of the production plant will start in 2008 at a site in the south central United States. The $150 million project will generate approximately 250 short-term construction jobs and 65 highly skilled permanent jobs.

5m Editor