Feedstocks and a growing biodiesel, renewable diesel, SAF industry  

Clean Fuels Alliance America CEO Donnell Rehagen says he’s optimistic there is a sufficient feedstock supply to meet increased demand for biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuels.

“The feedstock market, I think, looks good for the industry,” he says. “We’re very excited to see the investments being made by the oilseed crushers, for instance. Soybean oil is still going to be a very prominent feedstock and for us to move from a two- or three-billion-gallon industry to a six-billion-gallon industry, which is what our vision is. Soybean crush announcements will add a 30 to 35 percent increase in crush. It’s great for farmers in the United States.”

Soybean oil is the primary feedstock used in the production of the fuel. Other feedstocks include animal fats and recycled cooking oil.

“I’m not going to suggest there won’t be moments of tightness. Our industry is growing as fast as it’s ever grown. We’re expecting to add about one billion gallons of new renewable diesel in the next 12 months and probably another billion gallons in the 12 to 18 months after that,” he says. “When we launched this vision to be a six-billion-gallon industry back in 2020, we were not even a three-billion-gallon industry at that time. The next two or three years will be the period of the most significant growth, so we need those feedstocks to continue to grow. We also see a lot better work being done on the aggregation of feedstocks that are also players in our industry—used cooking oils and animal fats. As our industry has added value to those feedstocks, we’ve seen those industries do a better job collecting them and making the valuable products available to the (clean fuels) industry.”

Iowa Soybean Association CEO Kirk Leeds says there is a limit on how much soybean oil and other feedstocks can be produced.

“It’s not today; we’re not there today. And, with technology and the ability of farmers to continually produce, we will continue to see increased production,” he says. “From my perspective, I think we have to be a little careful about over promising and under delivering…it’s going to take all of us. It’s going to take all the feedstocks, it’s going to take all the technology, and we’re going to be in the liquid fuel business for awhile. There’s going to be a lot of growth in this industry.”

American Soybean Association CEO Steve Censky says farmers are willing to expand production. He says the soybean crushing facilities coming online, “would supply enough additional soybean oil for about 900 million gallons of renewable diesel and so we have the capacity to expand.”

Rehagen, Leeds, and Censky spoke during the 2023 Clean Fuels Conference.

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