Agricultural giant Cargill is planning a major investment to expand its production of biodiesel that will help North Sea Port become a center of the eco-friendly business. Targeted at the shipping as well as the trucking industries, the biofuel will help to meet Europe’s growing demand.
“The expansion at Cargill ties in perfectly with our strategy,” says Daan Schalck, CEO of North Sea Port. Formed in 2018 joining the operations of the Dutch Zeeland Seaports and the Flemish/Belgian port of Ghent, North Sea Port is an entry port for international trade to inland Europe. It is increasingly focusing on the circular economy and bio-based applications, says the port CEO.
Cargill, which is already producing biodiesel from oilseeds at a plant in Ghent, Belgium, plans to invest approximately $150 million in the construction of a new factory at its Ghent site. It will use innovative technology to produce biodiesel from waste and residues. The new facility will be the first in Europe able to produce biodiesel from raw materials such as fatty acids resulting from the refining of vegetable oils, liquid residues from industrial processes, and fat from sewage sludge.
“The plant uses recycled products that would previously have been discarded or used for low-value applications,” said Alexis Cazin, managing director of Cargill Biodiesel. The new biodiesel, which can be blended into fuel for trucks or ships, responds to new trends and regulations.
“The new European directive puts the transition to advanced biofuels from waste and residues high on the agenda,” says Roger Janson, head of the Agricultural Supply Chain at Cargill. In response to the new regulations, they believe that there will be increasing demand for plants capable of processing more complex raw materials.
The investment is part of Cargill’s ongoing expansion of operations at North Sea Port. Last year, it announced an investment of more than $20 million into the expansion of starch production at its facilities in Ghent. Cargill is also a partner in North-CCU-Hub, the platform that is working towards a climate-neutral future for the port zone.