From Louisiana comes a long-awaited piece of news that impacts every Digest reader, everywhere. We’ve all seen the tremendous surge of decarbonization technology along the US Gulf Coast. More than $25 billion in low carbon projects have been announced in the Baton Rouge-Geismar industrial corridor alone.
The story is more than about size, it’s about mix. It’s solar, sustainable fuels, wind, renewable chemicals, renewable natural gas, hydrogen and clean nuclear. We see refining and energy complexes under development in California, the US Midwest, the Netherlands, and the UK also — but project activity is an order of magnitude greater along the Gulf Coast.
The Technologies are mixing
Years ago, the renewables movement meant an ethanol/feed project here, wind there, geothermal way over there. Projects were silos. That was the same in the old days of oil and gas — there was the refinery here, the feedstock way over there, the customer way the heck over there, and every other type of manufacturing technology was somewhere else. As T.S. Eliot once, observed, hell is the place where nothing connects.
Things started to change some time ago. Consider the Kalundborg Industrial Symbiosis, which we profiled more than a decade ago in the Digest and is considerably older — the effluent of one process becomes the feedstock of another. Waste heat is recovered for district heat; garbage is recycled into power; the gypsum plant draws raw materials from the wastes of other members of the Symbiosis.
Kalundborg was so perfect, it was hard to emulate, and the economics of using waste did not become attractive until, the public started to turn away from the practice of using the sky as a free sewer for greenhouse gas emissions. Once there was a price on carbon, project interconnectivity made sense because the waste acquired a value via avoided carbon emission. Eureka! A new path to large, commercial-scale projects.
As Raizen has pioneered in Brazil, waste vinasse can be used to make power and heat for the industrial process. So, less bagasse is computed for power, some is reserved to make cellulosic ethanol, adding value to what was once a sugar and ethanol refinery that used only the glucose fraction of the cane. See? Technologies work together. Renewable diesel made affordably at agricultural scale using corn oil. And the list goes on and on. Generating low carbon electricity via wind and solar, for process power and heat, even to split water to make hydrogen, or eFuels. Hydrogen that can be used for chemicals. There’s carbon capture, renewable power, industrial biotech, all working in harness now.
It helps if you have more resources in place in one place than another — the tools, team, training — that will shift projects to one geography over another. Policy helps too, a price on carbon, a business friendly climate the expedites permitting, not to bring bad projects online, but good projects faster. That’s why the Gulf Coast has been the epicenter of the integrated refinery of the future — they have so many of the pieces already in place, people ports, pipelines and more.
REenergize the Gulf Coast
A seismic shift in the economy of this size needs a community to foster project development, spur R&D and tech transfer, highlight advances in policy, bring capital and tech together, highlight growth in manufacturing and job-creation, and bring all the stakeholders to one place, at one time, for real dialogue on the real opportunities.
Accordingly, the Daily Digest, the Baton Rouge Carbon Reduction Alliance, and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber today announce the launch of REenergize the Gulf Coast™, an online community and event series which will feature the rise of new low-carbon technologies that are transforming the US Gulf Coast economy.
The Baton Rouge-Geismar industrial corridor has become the center of activity with more than $25 billion in low carbon projects including solar, sustainable fuels, renewable chemicals, renewable natural gas, hydrogen and nuclear. At The Digest, we see activity all along the Gulf Coast, centered on the Baton Rouge-Geismar industrial corridor, that serves as a model for other regions around the US and the world. How to transform fast, how to transform right, how to use existing infrastructure, local skills, local materials and new approaches to policy and finance to deliver a path to a Net Zero economy that does good, and does well.
In recent years, more than 100 projects have been announced in the United States aimed at deploying low carbon technology at scale. The surge of project activity is bringing the prospect of thousands of good-paying jobs, and giving the region a leadership role in the net zero economy based in sustainable energy, chemicals and materials. Hundreds of nations and major corporations have announced net zero goals that set the stage for project development and deployment to deliver low carbon energy and materials.
REenergize the Gulf Coast Online Community and Events
On February 2, the Reenergize™ online community launches at www.reenergize.community, featuring forums, groups, messaging, and member profiles where technologists, project developers, suppliers, policymakers, financiers, customers and supply-chain and value-chain partners can discover potential opportunities, connect, and share updates.
Each Tuesday, a weekly REenergize the Gulf Coast™ zoom-based webinar will bring community members together to highlight new projects, technologies, companies, customers, investors and other stakeholders. Each weekly session will be live and interactive on the REenergize Zoom Channel, and a recorded version will be available on-demand via the Digest’s ROBIN streaming platform.
The partners plan to launch REenergize™, a live event, which will be held annually in Baton Rouge, bringing together companies across the nation and the project community for conference presentations, technology exhibits and structured networking aimed at building out supply- and value-chains and bringing new technologies, investors, projects and jobs to the Gulf Coast.
How to get active
In the REenergize™ community and movement, start by clickijng here to join the community. You’ll find not a list of passive people, but active groups, forums, and one-to-one meeting opportunities. This is a place where interaction is not just possible, it actually takes place. Join in at www.reenergize.community
The Gulf Coast wave of projects started in 2020
Earlier today we reported that Darling Ingredients Inc. and Valero Energy Corporation announced they have made the final investment decision on a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) project at the Diamond Green Diesel (DGD) Port Arthur plant, which is owned and operated by Diamond Green Diesel Holdings LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between Valero and Darling. Upon completion of the project, which is expected in 2025, the DGD Port Arthur plant will have the capability to upgrade approximately 50 percent of its current 470 million gallon annual production capacity to SAF. The project’s estimated cost is approximately $315 million, with half of that attributable to Darling Ingredients. With the completion of this project, DGD is expected to be one of the largest SAF manufacturers in the world.
In Louisiana, we’ve been reporting on Strategic Biofuels, the massive Grön project, and more. Late last year we reported that the Louisiana Community Development Authority’s (LCDA) Executive Committee voted unanimously to adopt a resolution granting final approval for the issuance of up to $1.1 billion of its Revenue Bonds to finance a portion of the Louisiana Green Fuels project (LGF). The utilization of waste materials to produce fuels enables the LGF project to utilize these tax-exempt municipal bonds. Citigroup Global Markets Inc., the investment bank and financial services company, has been engaged to serve as the underwriter of the bonds and will be responsible for marketing the bonds to investors.
We also recently reported on Babcock & Wilcox teaming with Kiewit to develop 200MW power plant for Grön Fuels https://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2022/03/31/babcock-wilcox-team-with-kiewit-to-develop-200mw-power-plant-for-gron-fuels/ as part of the $9.2B renewable fuels complex at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.
In Mississippi we’re following the Velocys Bayou Fuels project — more on that here. In Mississippi, Velocys, Inc announced it has signed an agreement with Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, LLC (OLCV), to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from Velocys’ planned Bayou Fuels biomass-to-fuels project in Natchez, Mississippi, and securely store it underground in a geologic formation.
In Texas we following the MMEX Resources project, which aims to develop solar energy to power multiple planned projects producing hydrogen and ultra-low sulfur fuels combined with carbon dioxide (CO2) capture in Texas.
Reaction from the Stakeholders
”Reenergize is perfectly aligned with the Carbon Reduction Alliance’s objectives to position Louisiana as a leader in low-carbon energy and products,” said Russell Richardson, SVP, Business Development with BRAC . “We are excited to be a part of this partnership with The Digest,” said Adam Knapp, President and CEO of BRAC. “Reenergize will leverage the momentum of sustainable, clean energy investments underway or proposed for the Baton Rouge Area. Additionally, Reenergize™ will leverage H2theFuture, a $75 million multi-regional grant with the U.S Economic Development Administration aimed at building a clean hydrogen energy cluster to decarbonize south Louisiana’s industrial corridor.”
Jim Lane, editor and publisher of The Digest, the world’s most widely-read low carbon daily with more than 5.6 million unique readers, said “This industrial transformation we’re seeing take place all around the world has its project and deployment heart in the Baton Rouge region and all along the US Gulf Coast. The projects are numerous, complex, and large — no one can do this alone, organizations are going to have to network like crazy to realize all their opportunities, and that is what REenergize is all about.”
About the Partners
The Baton Rouge Carbon Reduction Alliance is a coalition with a goal to transform Baton Rouge into a low-carbon, net-zero energy hub by partnering with organizations across the region who want to pave the way for an energy-efficient future. The alliance is made up of over 25 organizations from industry, government, academia and community stakeholders that aim to retain and grow jobs in the greater Baton Rouge area while positioning the region as a hub for investment in low-carbon energy and technologies.
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) is an aggressively ambitious regional economic development organization with a bias for action. BRAC seeks to push Baton Rouge beyond the status quo, unleash its potential, and support a vibrant business community that believes the finish line does not exist. BRAC seeks to accelerate economic opportunity in the Baton Rouge Area, for everyone, through BRING IT! Baton Rouge, its five-year, regional strategic plan. Learn more about BRAC at brac.org.
The Digest publishes the world’s most widely-read low carbon daily with 5.6 million unique readers, and co-owns and produces the ABLC conference series focused on bioeconomy project development & deployment. The Digest also owns the ROBIN streaming platform, the CONNECT™ online webinar series, and the monthly e-zine CIRCULAR. The company is based in Miami, Florida.