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Animal Fat Renewable Diesel: Tyson Converts Meat Factory By-Products Into Fuel

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You've probably heard of cars that look like their owners. What about cars that eat like their owners? Until recently, most of the cars that could do so were vegans -- they ran on biodiesel derived from cooking oil. But thanks to Dynamic Fuels, a joint venture between energy technology company Syntroleum and Tyson Foods, the largest meat producer in the country, the vegan hegemony may soon be at an end.

That's because an Dynamic Fuels has been ramping up production at its year-and-a-half Louisiana plant dedicated toward converting animal fat to renewable diesel for use in planes, trains and automobiles.

The plant is already producing about 5000 barrels of biodiesel a day, using scraps from Tyson's gigantic meat processing plants and those of its trading partners. And Dynamic Fuels has inked deals with several airlines and with Northern Southern railroads to get its fuel into vehicles.

The apparent success of Dynamic Fuels stands in sharp contrast to an earlier attempt by Tyson to convert its spare animal fat to fuel. The Little Rock-based company signed a deal with energy giant ConocoPhillips in 2007, only to see that plan fall through when tax code changes halved the federal subsidy granted to producers of their form of biodiesel.

Dynamic Fuels officials have said that the economics of their method allow them to be cash positive whether or not they receive a tax credit. (They currently are, to the tune of $1.00 per gallon.) That may mean it's only a matter of time before your neighbor's Land Rover starts running on Iowan lard rather Canadian crude oil.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that Dynamic Fuels was producing 5000 gallons per day rather than 5000 barrels per day, and referred to its final product as biodiesel rather than renewable diesel.

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