World Energy secures permits to greatly expand SAF production in Southern California
Updated: Apr 25
Biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) producer World Energy announced April 22 that it has secured the critical permits required for a $2 billion project to increase fuel-manufacturing capacity at its Paramount, California, SAF plant to 340 million gallons per year, a 700 percent increase in biofuel output on site. World Energy is teaming up with Air Products, the world’s largest hydrogen producer, and Honeywell, an innovator in SAF technology, to build the most technologically advanced production and distribution hub ever constructed. Together, along with more than 15 other leading firms, the companies are collaborating to speed up and expand the decarbonization of aviation. Global air-transport leaders and those heavily reliant on aviation are now entering into long-term agreements to secure access to the plant’s current and expanding supply to make carbon-net-zero aviation real.
“World Energy’s transformation of its facility to producing 100 percent sustainable fuel is good for the planet and it’s good for our city,” said Paramount Mayor Vilma Cuellar Stallings. “Locally, the refinery will never again deal with petroleum products, which of course will be healthy for our residents. We welcome this change.”
The former oil refinery site will never again refine fossil fuels. By 2050 the facility will produce fuels that will displace more than 76 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of 3.8 million carbon-net-zero flights from Los Angeles to New York. It will also significantly reduce the fine particulate emissions in the trucks, trains and planes powered by World Energy’s fuels. Air Products and World Energy will collaborate on innovations to transition to green hydrogen inputs, further reducing the carbon intensity of the fuels it produces.
The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation Institute for Applied Economics conducted a multiregional economic impact analysis and estimates that between 2019 and 2024, World Energy’s ongoing operations and conversion will contribute $19.2 billion to the U.S. economy and generate more than 18,000 jobs.
“Getting real about net-zero aviation is going to require the mobilization of expertise and resources far beyond anything that has come before,” said Gene Gebolys, CEO of World Energy. “We are pulling together the very best companies in the world with the expertise, experience, commitment, and focus to collaborate on pushing the frontier of what can be done to decarbonize aviation today while building a platform for what needs to be done to decarbonize flight entirely by 2050. This is an immense undertaking. But it must be done, and it requires that we move with the speed, coordination, and determination befitting the problem we are working to tackle.”
Seifi Ghasemi, Air Products’ chairman, president and CEO, added, “This project is another pioneering moment in Air Products’ commitment to help support the energy transition. We are already building the world’s largest green hydrogen facility with our partners in Saudi Arabia and the world’s largest blue hydrogen facility in Louisiana. Now we are teaming up with World Energy to build North America’s largest SAF facility. We are very pleased to be working with World Energy, enabling another U.S. megaproject that will provide measurable sustainability benefits and advance California’s decarbonization goals by producing a renewable fuel to meet the growing demands of the aviation industry.”
The world’s first and North America’s only commercial-scale SAF facility was launched in Paramount, California, using Honeywell UOP’s Ecofining™ technology in 2013, with production commencing in 2016. World Energy and Honeywell have continued to collaborate and have strengthened this critical relationship with a technical development agreement to advance the next generation of carbon-reduction technologies. This collaboration will further innovations integrating more efficient SAF production processes, new process pathways using new sustainable feedstocks, low-carbon hydrogen, and carbon-capture technologies.
“As one of the pioneers of the SAF market with Honeywell UOP Ecofining technology, our long-term engagement with World Energy continues to help transform the industry and support the goal of a significantly reducing CO2 emissions,” said Bryan Glover, president and CEO of Honeywell UOP. “Our participation in this project will not only enable World Energy to build a technologically advanced SAF production and distribution hub, it also helps accelerate the energy transition of the aviation industry.”
World Energy first announced its intention to fully convert the Paramount refinery and expand renewable fuels production there in October 2018, after purchasing the AltAir Fuels facility from Delek US Holdings earlier that year.