This year could be a “go” for an old biodiesel manufacturing plant at the Denton landfill.
American Bio Source got the keys to the plant in 2014, after another company went out of business at the site in 2008.
American Bio Source has been recycling restaurant oil and grease in the region since 2010 and relocated its recycling business to Denton. But it hasn’t been producing the fuel itself.
Company owner Walter Dobson says he’s been working for several years to retool the plant to current standards for environmental permitting.
“The design requirements changed,” Dobson said. “It could never produce biodiesel in its previous configuration.”
The last biodiesel manufacturer in the Dallas-Fort Worth region recently closed, although there are other manufacturers located around the state, Dobson said.
He watches the rest of the industry and tries to learn from their mistakes.
The previous plant owner had an agreement to sell the Denton city government at least 300,000 gallons of biodiesel each year at a set price.
But the previous plant owner also bought the grease it recycled, making it hard to control supply chain costs, Dobson said.
American Bio Source sends out trucks to pick up grease from hundreds of area restaurants.
In addition, many other producers are dependent on federal tax credits to stay profitable, he said.
The company leases the plant and the property from the city. The city’s solid waste director, Ethan Cox, said the lease contract does have terms if the company starts making the fuel again.
Specifically, the contract provides the city a per-gallon royalty for any biodiesel manufactured in Denton and sold.
“But it doesn’t require them to manufacture biodiesel,” Cox said.
Dobson said the lease expires at the end of this year and talks have begun for its renewal.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881.