Renewable Energy Group (REG), the largest biodiesel producer and marketer in the U.S., is expanding operations to eastern New Mexico where it will establish a B100 wholesale terminal at its yet to be completed biodiesel plant near Clovis. The terminal will supply regional industry as early as July this year.

“Our goal is to get the terminal open and make people aware there is biodiesel in the region and educate people on the benefits,"says Alicia Clancy, corporate affairs manager for REG.

REG purchased the plant in 2010 and plans on developing a full production facility once construction is complete. Clancy says construction is underway and the plant is about 40 percent complete at this stage.

“But a terminal with a 500,000 gallon capacity is a good starting point, and should be ready for operation before the end of summer. We hope to service a large area that stretches from eastern New Mexico across the Texas state line in an effort to provide a local high grade biodiesel product,” she added.

"Renewable Energy Group believes this new terminal infrastructure demonstrates our commitment to offer our customers better access to biodiesel blending locations throughout the Southwest and West," Daniel J. Oh, REG president and CEO, said in a release. "We intend to complete construction of REG Clovis as a biodiesel production site, the timing of which depends on a variety of factors. Using the location as a terminal is an important initial step in the process to meet local market demand."

Clancy says initial wholesale shipments of biodiesel will be produced in Houston and stored and sold from the new terminal in the Clovis Industrial Park. She says the terminal will serve three tiers of potential consumers — petroleum refineries, petroleum wholesalers and companies with large trucking fleets that keep diesel on site.

“We are anxious to get product into this market and a wholesale terminal is just the first step to start meeting a growing demand,” Clancy said.

The nearest REG location to Clovis is in Houston. Clancy said moving biodiesel by the truckload makes economic sense within a 300 miles radius, which puts Clovis in prime territory for West Texas and service to the Artesia area.

Clancy said biodiesel is a drop-in biofuel for use in any diesel engine application, and can be blended at any ratio.

Once complete, Oh says the REG Clovis production facility will produce about 15 million gallons of biodiesel per year. In the interim, he says the wholesale terminal will provide REG-9000 biodiesel to truck or rail out to the wholesale market across the region.

Clancy says REG services the Midwest and Texas, but the Clovis facility will expand their presence to the Southwest and may be the first in an expansion that could take the company further west to California. She says the Clovis facility will service Southern Colorado as well.

Customer applications requested

Clancy said the company is currently taking applications at www.regi.com/clovis to set up customer accounts for the wholesale biodiesel and encourages inquiries about delivery and future production at the plant.

According to Clancy, Renewable Energy Group is focused on converting natural fats, oils and greases into advanced biofuels.

“With more than 210 million gallons of owned/operated annual production capacity at biorefineries across the country, REG continues to lead the industry as the largest U.S. producer of biodiesel,” she said. “We will eventually be looking at local producers of used cooking oils and the agriculture industry for animal fats, so there will an added benefit for regional business and industry in and around Clovis.”

“On a national level, the National Biodiesel Board continues to work with agriculture equipment manufacturers to promote biodiesel, and we are hopeful we will soon receive B20 endorsement from our partners. Already, Ford Motor Company, Dodge and General Motors are promoting their new passenger trucks as B20 rated. Five-percent biodiesel can be blended in any diesel fuel and still meet federal requirements, reduce emissions and ultimately support energy independence,” Clancy said.

She says the biodiesel industry needs passage of a rumored federal blender’s tax credit. A $1 a gallon tax break would help the industry generate investment and would make biodiesel price more competitive. But of more concern is the growth of renewable fuel standards.

“We are anxious to see what EPA and the Administration are going to do about setting the 2013 quota for biofuel production,” Clancy said.

This year that number is one million gallons, but Clancy says REG stands with the National Biodiesel Board’s recommendation of setting the 2013 production requirement at 1.28 million gallons.

“This alone would represent a continued interest and effort to support alternative fuels,” Clancy explained.