Cargill completes one of Europe's largest waste-to-biofuel plant
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Cargill completes one of Europe’s largest waste-to-biofuel plant

Cargill has completed its first state-of-the-art advanced biodiesel plant in Ghent, Belgium, which converts waste oils and residues into renewable fuel. The advanced biodiesel produced at the facility will be used by the maritime and trucking sectors, enabling customers to lower the carbon footprint associated with their maritime and road transport activities.

Cargill’s USD150 million investment in the existing oilseeds crush and biodiesel Ghent plant marks the company’s first foray into advanced biodiesel production. Using only waste oils and residues as raw materials, the new facility will produce up to 115,000 metric tons per year and add 20 new direct jobs and an additional 60 indirect jobs to the local community.

In 2020, Cargill, a privately held American global food corporation based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware, engaged the Styrian plant manufacturer BDI to build a biodiesel plant of the newest generation in Ghent. The tailor-made plant in Belgium is the largest to produce sustainable biodiesel using BDI’s patented RepCAT process technology and enables maximum economic operation. More than 115,000 tons of biodiesel can be produced from residual and waste materials, which means that more than 155,000 vehicles may be operated carbon-neutrally every year.

The groundbreaking project is the one of the largest waste-to-biofuel facilities in Europe and Cargill’s first, employing industry-leading technology to convert all types of liquid waste oils and fats, including used cooking oils, tallow and residues from edible oil production, into advanced biodiesel. In doing so, Cargill supports the circular economy, giving new purpose to products that previously were disposed of, or relegated to low-value applications.

“By leveraging advanced waste-processing technology, we are providing an innovative solution that meets global renewable energy demands, respects environmental needs and helps customers realize greenhouse gas commitments,” said Alexis Cazin, managing director for Cargill Biodiesel & Carbon EMEA. “But the benefits are much broader, especially when considered alongside our global portfolio of alternative fuels, as they offer a bridge toward a future, decarbonized transportation system.”

In Europe, which has the ambition of being the first climate neutral continent in the world, Cargill’s advanced biodiesel helps solve a key challenge. Historically, developing low-carbon renewable fuels solutions for heavy-duty trucks and maritime shipping was difficult, yet transportation represents almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions. Advanced biodiesel produced from oil waste and residues offers a concrete, cost-effective approach to address this need, bringing major benefits to citizens, communities and the environment. However, even as Cargill opens its new facility, the company continues its quest to bring additional carbon-reducing solutions to the energy sector.

“Biofuels are one step in the journey, not the end goal itself,” said Philippa Purser, president of Cargill’s Agriculture Supply Chain business in EMEA. “There is no single solution that will address the world’s current energy challenge. That’s why we continue to invest and support a range of solutions and will continue to innovate greener technologies.”

Cargill already provides high-performing, renewable solutions for customers in more than a dozen industries, from building materials, beauty and personal care to power generation and performance chemicals like foams, candle wax and lubricants. It also encourages responsible, sustainable agricultural practices in the production of the raw materials used for these bio-based solutions.

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