Renewable Energy Group announced that it will not extend its lease at the biodiesel facility in Seabrook, with plans to close the facility in November. The plant, which can produce 35 million gallons per year, couldn’t handle numerous feedstocks, according to the business. “The facility has performed admirably, but it has always been a problem because of its lease arrangement and the lack of Renewable Energy Group’s signature multi-feedstock processing capability,” said President and CEO Cynthia “CJ” Warner.
The plant was purchased and commissioned in 2008 by Renewable Energy Group, which is a worldwide producer as well as supplier of renewable fuels. The business stated that it is seeking to find new roles for the Seabrook employees within the organization. “Shutting down a factory is never an easy decision,” Warner added. “We are grateful to the staff at the Renewable Energy Group Houston for their commitment to operational excellence and safety.” Despite the news, Warner stated that the company is committed to implementing its expansion strategy.
Warner stated, “We will keep working with our current customers and providers to develop clean fuel alternatives that are achieving real carbon reduction today.” Biofuels, notably those generated from agricultural products, are gaining popularity among refiners because they emit fewer pollutants as well as greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. However, as feedstock prices have risen, production has decreased.
Furthermore, the Renewable Fuel Standard, which is a federal program which requires a minimum proportion of renewable fuels in transportation fuel supplied in the United States, mandates that some transportation fuels originate from biofuels. With the closure of the Seabrook plant, the Gulf Coast region now has 14 biodiesel facilities, down from 18 in 2019. According to the Energy Department, there are nearly 75 in operation in the United States.
Renewable Energy Group, based in Ames, Iowa, is a biodiesel manufacturer. The business owns and runs 12 biorefineries as well as a feedstock processing plant. The firm is a Fortune 1000 firm as of 2018. With the development of a plant in Ralston, Iowa, Renewable Energy Group started in 1996 as the biodiesel branch of West Central Cooperative. The company split from West Central in 2006 and relocated its head offices to Ames.
In 2013, the business purchased Syntroleum Corporation, a biofuels company based in Tulsa, despite the company’s challenges with profitability. Imperium Renewables, a biodiesel company situated in Grays Harbor, Washington, was acquired by it in 2015. Jeff Stroburg was the company’s first CEO after its split from West Central, and he was succeeded by Daniel Oh in 2011. Reginald Howard took over as temporary CEO after Oh’s sudden and unexpected retirement in 2017, and Cynthia Warner took over in 2018.