The global use of US rendered fat is now mostly for biodiesel and renewable fuel, as well as for the oleochemical industry, with 40% of all US rendered fat exports utilised for biodiesel and renewable diesel production, according to the National Renderers Association (NRA) US market report, published in the April 2018 edition of Render magazine.

While US fat exports have fallen 30% in the last five years, Singapore had become the second largest export market for US tallow, importing about 120,000 tonnes for renewable fuel production.

“The EU has continued to be the largest US export market for used cooking oil with 176,000 tonnes, or close to 60%, of total yellow grease exports going to biodiesel and renewable fuel production,” the NRA said.

The USA is a leading producer of rendered products, followed by the EU and leading livestock and meat processing countries such as Argentina, Australia and Brazil and New Zealand.

Rendered fat exports from the USA in 2017 totalled 736,700 tonnes, up slightly from 2016, the report said.

The NRA forecasts a rise in US production of rendered products with increased livestock production.

“Over the next 10 years, more than 474,000 tonnes of animal protein meals and 811,000 tonnes of rendered fat are projected to be added in the supply chain.”

While global demand for fat as a biodiesel/renewable energy source would offset the added supply, additional international demand was needed to take up the increased amount of animal protein meals, in a market already awash with an oversupply of soyabean meal.

“The key for rendered animal protein meals will be to continue to find niche markets for these products, such as the aquaculture and pet food industries.”

The report said US rendered product production in 2017 rose 1.4% from 2016 to total 10.5M tonnes. Production totaled 5.7M tonnes for fat and 2.6M tonnes for tallow.

Over the last five years, total rendered product production rose 4%, with fat up 2%.

Domestic consumption of rendered products rose 2% in 2017 to 7.1M tonnes, and 5% over the past five years, due to increased fat use in the biodiesel/renewable fuel sector.

“Domestic fat use for biodiesel/renewable diesel production continued to grow in 2017, reaching 1.2M tonnes, a 4.3% increase from 2016 and a 33% increase over the last five years.”

Demand from the renewable energy sector is projected to grow dramatically with Diamond Green, in particular, nearly doubling production at its renewable diesel plant in Norco, Louisiana, from 150M gallons/year to 275M gallons/year, increasing its raw material need from 500,000 tonnes to over 1M tonnes.

“This plant expansion is expected to be finished by the second quarter of 2018.”

Diamond Green will also begin a feasibility study to further expand the plant to 550M gallons/year, which would increase its need for raw material to over 2M tonnes.