Originally published in the Portland Business Journal
SeQuential, the Oregon company that collects used cooking oil and turns it into biodiesel, has boosted production capacity at its Salem plant by 30 percent. It credited a state program with helping drive increased demand.
Output has been growing every year since the southeast Salem plant began operating in 2008, and capacity was now up to 12 million gallons annually, Sequential said Tuesday. A recent expansion included storage, blending and loading upgrades.
SeQuential was acquired a year ago by Crimson Renewable Energy, a Denver-headquartered company that has major operations in Bakersfield, California. SeQuential CEO Tyson Keever became the chief operating officer of the combined companies and SeQuential lives on as a subsidiary, with its business offices in Portland. It employs 275 people, including 150 in Oregon.
Through its own acquisitions, SeQuential was already collecting grease from restaurants and businesses from Washington to the Bay Area. After the Crimson deal, it moved into Los Angeles and Orange counties and now collects from nearly 20,000 customers, the company said.
“We’re thrilled to continue growing our production capabilities here in Oregon,” Keever said in a statement. “Local demand for low carbon fuel has risen steadily over the past several years, thanks in part to the state’s commitment to carbon reduction. We expect that trend to continue, and we wanted to be sure we’re prepared to meet it.”
The “state’s commitment to carbon reduction” was a reference to Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program, which mirrors California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard as a market-based system for driving down greenhouse gas emissions. The programs are based on carbon intensity, a measurement that takes into account emissions that are generated in the production, transportation, storage and use of a fuel.
SeQuential’s biodiesel, made with a waste feedstock and produced at high efficiency — around 96 percent of what’s collected is turned into fuel — has the lowest carbon intensity in Oregon’s program, less than one-sixth that of standard diesel. That makes it increasingly valuable as the program’s requirements become tighter and credit prices rise.
Biodiesel has also been supported by the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, which offers its own system of credits that can be monetized.