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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

California Gov. Newsom visits World Energy’s renewable diesel, SAF plant near Los Angeles

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, at the microphone, and World Energy CEO Gene Gebolys, right, during the governor's May 1 visit to the former oil refinery in Paramount. (Photo: The Office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom visited World Energy’s Paramount, California, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) facility May 1 to spotlight California’s transition to clean fuels and broader commitment to green jobs.

The World Energy site is a converted a petroleum refinery that became the world’s first producer of SAF. The company is significantly expanding SAF production capacity at the facility.

The complex is also being outfitted to manufacture green hydrogen. Hydrogen is needed to hydrotreat biobased feedstock into renewable diesel and SAF.

“World Energy will soon produce clean hydrogen, which many new trucks will rely on for fuel,” Newsom’s office stated.

Gene Gebolys, founder and CEO of World Energy, told Biobased Diesel Daily, “Upon completion, the World Energy LA Clean Fuel Hub will produce clean hydrogen from fully renewable off gases—and that hydrogen will be used to produce the world’s lowest-carbon SAF and road fuels and, in addition, directly fuel about 2,000 zero-emission fuel-cell trucks per day. California, the world’s fifth-largest economy, is the also world’s unparalleled leader in driving innovation and has long supported the pioneering work World Energy does in Paramount. Gov. Newsom’s over two-hour visit, and deep engagement while he was with us, was an important validation of the importance of that work for California—and well beyond.”

World Energy has received millions of dollars in grants from the state to support its clean-energy projects, and is one of hundreds of companies that have received state funding.

“Already, World Energy Paramount has produced 150 million gallons of renewable fuels—the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road—and represents the broader success of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which has dramatically reshaped the state’s fuels market,” Newsom’s office stated. “Since its inception in 2009, LCFS has doubled California’s use of clean fuels.”

Additionally, the governor marked International Workers’ Day while at World Energy and met with hundreds of union construction workers who are building the next phase of the facility.

“California’s clean-energy future is here, and there’s no better example of that than this petroleum refinery-turned renewable fuels hub,” Newsom said. “The fuels of the future are clean and California is leading the way with billions of dollars to supercharge this transition while creating thousands more good green jobs and growing our economic might.”

Newsom also highlighted the state’s recent action to transition to zero emission trucks after the California Air Resources Board approved regulations in late April to phase out the sales of medium- and heavy-duty combustion trucks in California by 2036.

In 2009, California adopted the LCFS to cut greenhouse-gas emissions and other toxic air pollutants.

The LCFS has dramatically reshaped California’s fuels market over the past decade, reducing the carbon intensity of fuels in the state by 10 percent and more than doubling the use of cleaner fuels, displacing over 24 billion gallons of petroleum fuel.

Last year, the governor requested that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) consider a more stringent fuel standard and accelerate refinery transitions to clean-fuels production.

Additionally, Newsom directed CARB to establish a 20 percent clean-fuels target for the aviation sector.

Meanwhile, Newsom chose not to sign AB 1322, a bill passed by the Legislature in August that would, among other provisions, target 20 percent SAF consumption in California aviation by 2030.

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