SMELLING profit in the kitchen : OIL companies have begun converting restaurant grease into a renewable form of diesel.

Many businesses are getting that electric and hydro-powered cars and trucks will play a critical role in the fight against climate change. But some oil companies are hoping that smelly restaurant grease and slaughterhouse waste will, too.

Companies that refine crude oil into fuel are increasingly using such putrid scraps to make a renewable version of diesel that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from trucks, buses and industrial equipment without requiring families and businesses to invest in expensive new vehicles and factor gear.

Phillips 66, Marathon, Holly-Frontier and several other refiners are spending roughly $2 billion to retool refineries to produce the fuel over the next four years.

Rene-wable diesel has been around for years, and its production, while tiny compared with its fossil fuel counterpart, has grown steadily because the federal government and California offer incentives for companies to make and sell it.

That support has made the fuel even more attractive to oil refiners during the pandemic because demand for regular diesel, gasoline and jet fuel has plunged as people drive and travel less.

Production of renewable diesel is up roughly 7 percent this year. If current trends continue, refiners could produce as much as 3.8 billion gallons of renewable diesel by 2025, or more than 5 percent of the total diesel production last year, according to S&P Global Platts, an energy research firm.

''Renewable diesel is a golden nugget,'' said Corey Lavinsky, director for global biofuels at S&P Global Platts. ''At a time when a lot of companies are struggling, we have this huge opportunity with companies announcing ambitious plans to build renewable diesel capacity.''

Some oil refining companies believe renewable diesel could help them stay profitable as governments move to significantly reduce the use of fossil fuels to address climate change - a process that is already underway in Europe and could accelerate in the United States during the Biden administration.

Renewable diesel is appealing for several reasons. It can be used in existing diesel engines without having to be blended with regular diesel - its biggest advantage over biodiesel and ethanol, which are also made from organic material but generally cannot be used without being mixed petroleum products.

Renewable diesel, like biodiesel, is produced from waste agricultural products and animal fats, but it is processed differently to make it chemically identical to conventional petroleum diesel.

People who buy diesel may not even know they are using renewable diesel because pumps can handle it, oil-based diesel or the combination of the two and typically carry no special labels.

Burning renewable diesel produces between 50 and 80 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional diesel, depending on which raw materials are used to make the fuel. And oil refineries can make renewable diesel with a few upgrades.

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on Science, Climate Change, and Renewable, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Clifford Krauss.


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