- The Love's Family of Companies, made up of truck stops and other transport firms, is partnering with agribusiness giant Cargill for a joint venture to produce and market renewable diesel, according to an announcement Tuesday.
- For the venture, called Heartwell Renewables, Cargill will provide the tallow used to make the renewable diesel. Love's Family of Companies' commodity trading and logistics arm, Musket, would transport and market the fuel in the U.S., according to the announcement.
- The companies plan to start constructing a production plant in Hastings, Nebraska, in the coming weeks that can produce some 80 million gallons of renewable diesel a year, the announcement said. Plant operations are slated to start in the spring of 2023.
In the quest for more sustainable operations, many transport leaders have their long-term vision set on electric vehicles. But battery-electric and hydrogen trucks are not yet ready to scale. Renewable diesel offers a way to cut carbon now.
Renewable diesel is chemically identical to petroleum diesel, thanks to the production process, according to Love's press release. But the greener fuel has less carbon intensity and produces fewer emissions. It also has a fast combustion speed, which the announcement said has been shown to help improve maintenance needs.
Neste, an energy company that provides My Renewable Diesel, said its fuel is a drop-in replacement. It's "compatible with all diesel engines and can be integrated into all diesel fuel infrastructures at no extra cost," the company said in a press release announcing a couple new stations in California late last year.
However, renewable diesel fueling stations are not as ubiquitous as diesel pumps. Demand is burgeoning, though, and Neste expects it to grow "at a much faster pace" in the coming decades, a spokesperson said via email.
"This is driven by two things. First, businesses and cities are setting bold climate goals. Second, governments are adopting policies that encourage the use of low and zero emission solutions in transportation," the spokesperson wrote.
California is leading the charge on greener transportation. Regulators are aiming for net-zero carbon, and the state has deadlines and other incentives in place to encourage and mandate EV adoption. Neste said its fuel is compliant with California Air Resources Board guidelines.
Neste said renewable diesel is one of the largest contributors to the success of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The company has provided more than 1.6 billion gallons of Neste My Renewable Diesel into California over the past five years, and it's used by more than 1,000 customers in the U.S. and Canada, the spokesperson said.
The fuel produced at the Hastings facility will be primarily headed to California, to be sold at Love's Travel Stop locations. The company already sells renewable diesel, and the price at the pump is competitive with diesel, a company spokesperson said via email.