Cargill opens waste-based biodiesel plant in North Sea Port

American food corporation Cargill has opened its first biodiesel plant that converts waste oils and fats into renewable fuel at the company’s Ghent facility in North Sea Port.

Courtesy of North Sea Port
Courtesy of North Sea Port

The biodiesel is destined for shipping and freight, helping reduce their carbon footprint.

Cargill is investing $150 million in its existing oilseed and biodiesel plant in Ghent, taking a first step in the production of advanced biodiesel. The new facility will produce up to 115,000 tons per year, equivalent to the annual consumption of 10,000 trucks or 150,000 cars.

“This investment in a completely new circular plant strengthens North Sea Port’s position in terms of alternative fuel production,” Daan Schalck, North Sea Port CEO said.

One of Europe’s biggest

This project is Cargill’s first to convert waste to biofuel and one of the largest such facilities in Europe.

Using advanced technologies, the US food multinational’s plant transforms all kinds of waste liquid oils and fats into advanced biodiesel. These include used cooking oils, tallow and residues from the production of edible oils.

In this way, Cargill is supporting the circular economy by upgrading products that were previously discarded or destined only for low-value applications. In doing so, the company aims to fulfil its aims of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting circular fuels.

“With this advanced waste treatment technology, we are offering an innovative solution that meets the global demand for renewable energy, respects environmental requirements and helps customers meet their greenhouse gas commitments,” Alexis Cazin, Managing Director for Cargill Biodiesel & Carbon EMEA, said.

For Europe, Cargill’s advanced biodiesel is seen as an important step forwards in addressing this challenge. In the past, it has proved particularly difficult to develop low-carbon renewable fuels for shipping and heavy freight, even though transportation accounts for nearly a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions.

To remind, Cargill is one of the founding members of the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping. The center was created by Maersk and several other partners in 2020 with an aim to develop new fuel types and technologies that will help the shipping industry decarbonise.

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