Cargill's headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US. Photo courtesy of Cargill.
GHENT, BELGIUM — In a move aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting circular fuel possibilities, Cargill has completed its first 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.
It is 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 said it 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.
“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’s $150 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 tonnes per year and add 20 new direct jobs and an additional 60 indirect jobs to the local community.
Cargill said it 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.
Besides being the newest flour mill in the United States, the Ardent Mills flour mill built along the Gulf coast in metropolitan Tampa, Florida, US, has several details that set it apart. Advanced analytics, state-of-the-art equipment, unusually large grain storage capacity and unique supply chain capabilities are among the mill’s distinguishing features.
At 17,500 cwts of daily flour milling capacity, the Port Redwing mill is not Ardent Mills’ largest and is not among the 25 largest flour mills in the United States. With the capacity to receive large quantities of wheat, though, Ardent Mills constructed a large grain elevator at the Port Redwing mill, with 4.1 million bushels of storage capacity.
The elevator may be the largest ever built concurrent with the construction of a US flour mill and, according to the 2022 Grain & Milling Annual published by Sosland Publishing Co., it is the sixth largest elevator of any US flour mill currently operating. The concrete elevator includes 12, 50-foot-concrete bins with 300,000 bushels of grain storage apiece as well as a number of smaller grain bins.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the world’s wheat supply has been thrown into question, with poorer nations facing scarcity and a potential food crisis, according to the United Nations.
Following are countries among the world’s least developed that are the most dependent on Russia and Ukraine for their annual wheat supply (2020), according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development. Nations in Africa import 44% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine, according to the UN.
Sources: unctad.org and knoema.com/atlas.