With feedstock availability a concern as sustainable aviation fuel production ramps up, US startup Oleo-X has launched a SAF and renewable diesel (RD) feedstock merchant pretreatment facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi, which will have the potential capacity to produce up to 300 million gallons of renewable fuel feedstock per year. The company says its advanced pretreatment technology can produce clean, high-quality feedstocks that will enable partners to produce premium renewable fuels and claims its advanced chemistry can extend SAF and RD unit catalyst lives by years. Oleo-X purchased the former site of Chemour’s First Chemical plant in June 2022 and has invested in revamping and expanding the facility. The company has also appointed its first CEO, Sergio Correa, formerly a long-serving fuel executive at Delta Air Lines, where he was Head of Clean Oil Products.
“At Oleo-X, our vision is to feed the growing demand for sustainable energy, and the launch brings us one major step closer to making that vision a reality,” said Ivonne Ruggles, an investor in the company. “Our goal is to be a leader in sustainable energy. We are delivering a product so pure that some customers already call it ‘liquid gold’. Oleo-X is committed to modernising and optimising the way low-carbon fuels are manufactured.”
Oleo-X said the facility will process low-carbon, inedible oils – including poultry fat – without blending in high-quality oils taken from the food industry.
“At this time, the company is not revealing details on its proprietary technology but Oleo-X’s advanced chemistry formulates an unmatched product and the purity of the feed reduces the revamp cost of converting existing conventional refining units to process renewable feedstock, while also lowering carbon intensity,” said a spokesperson for the company. “Oleo-X is carving out a unique innovator position by substantially widening the pool of renewable energy feedstocks.”
Correa brings considerable experience in the oil and gas space, and with a long-term perspective as a large end-user, he led five business functions at Delta and oversaw the supply and trading of $10-15 billion in physical oil. “After gaining extensive experience in the fuel industry, I am proud to deepen my focus on innovative renewables at Oleo-X,” he commented on his new appointment. “Helping to bridge the gap between our diverse industries such as agriculture, chemicals, oil and transportation, and with our diverse investor, supplier and customer base, is a fascinating challenge.”
The facility, which previously manufactured chemicals for tyres, dyes and building materials, is to support more than 60 jobs, including 27 site leadership employees in Jackson County, and the company said it was on track to grow throughout the remainder of the year in terms of workforce, production and community involvement.
The majority shareholder in Oleo-X is New York real estate investment and development company Time Equities. “We target renewable energy and decarbonisation investment deals that offer compelling risk/reward profiles, while simultaneously making the planet cleaner and safer,” said CEO Francis Greenburger. “Oleo-X is a perfect alignment of these goals and we are proud of the positive impact the company’s work is having.”
Photo: The Oleo-X facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi