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Bay City Gets Clean Energy the Greasy Way

The city will consider a proposal to build what could be the first biodiesel plant in San Francisco – and possibly buy the fuels from the plant for its fleet.

A newly proposed biodiesel plant in San Francisco could supply fuels for the city fleet, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said Friday.


Darling International will seek approval from the San Francisco Port Commission to build the biodiesel plant at Pier 92. The plant would produce up to 10 million gallons a year by converting cooking oils from local restaurants and other fats and greases into biodiesel.

If it's approved, it will be the second planned biodiesel plant in the city. In May, the San Francisco's Public Utilities Commission received a $1 million grant from the California Energy Commission to build a pilot plant. The plant would make use of the more than 2.5 million gallons of brown grease – pan scrapings and oil residues in restaurant sinks - produced annually in the city.

"We want to buy locally produced biodiesel and cut out the thousands of miles it takes to have it transported to the city," city spokesman Brian Purchia said. The city currently buys biodiesel from suppliers in the Midwest, he said.

Darling already operates a rendering facility for animal fat and cooking oils at the pier. The company, which hasn't disclosed the project's cost, plans to expand its current operation to include biodiesel production. The company is the largest maritime exporter at the port and has operated the rendering plant since 1966.

The port commission is scheduled to consider the project next Tuesday.

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