Chevron Renewable Energy Group President Kevin Lucke Speaks on the Future of Renewable Fuels
Kevin Lucke, President of Chevron Renewable Energy Group, had the honor of speaking at the Clean Fuels Conference in January 2023. We are pleased to provide highlights of his presentation on the future of the company and the renewable fuels industry.
“In 40 years at Chevron … I have gotten to see various aspects of the world energy market and had the chance to serve many different roles. I am most proud and excited in my current role to as the President of Chevron Renewable Energy Group. After Chevron announced their intention to buy Renewable Energy Group, I was asked to become president of that business unit. It was one of the easiest yeses that I ever had to say in my career. I dare to say it was more like 'Hell, YES!' because I was ready to go back home to my roots in Iowa, where I could have a chance to be part of an industry that’s making a difference, and part of what you guys are all making happen today.”
“Chevron has a belief that the future of energy is lower carbon. So, what better way to work toward that goal of lowering carbon than by joining with Renewable Energy Group in the biofuels space.”
“It’s going to take all forms of energy to meet the demands of a lower carbon future. Biofuels are a solution that is available today that is making a significant impact for the energy transition and the future of our planet. Renewable Energy Group was the perfect partner for that work to occur for Chevron, and that’s because they were one of the founders of the biofuels industry and had done a remarkable job to become a leader in the renewable fuels space. I think of the conference theme we have this week, ‘United as One,’ and it really resonates with what we’re trying to unite with Chevron and Renewable Energy Group. We’ve been in business for over 140 years, and we’ve been focused on developing affordable, reliable energy that is essential to human life. We are the second largest energy company in the US and are involved in virtually every aspect of the energy business. We produce and transport oil, natural gas and manufacture those fuels that power the global economy.”
“At Chevron, we have a set of core beliefs that help guide us every single day."
- We recognize that energy is essential to modern life, and there are billions of individuals across the globe that need the energy that we produce every single day to keep up their standard of living.
- Our business is committed to providing energy for a growing world, and our focus now is making that energy lower carbon.
- At Chevron we also believe in protecting the environment, which includes protecting our climate for future generations.
- And finally, we believe it’s going to take innovation to meet society’s challenges ahead.
“Since its founding, Renewable Energy Group has been an innovative company. We make innovating in the biofuels industry our top priority. In order to move closer to that lower carbon future, we envision Chevron will make significant investments in its lower carbon business units, such as the renewable fuels business. Currently, we have the goal of producing 100,000 barrels of renewable fuels per day by the year 2030. The acquisition of Renewable Energy Group got us about one-third of the way there. We have an expansion project going on in Geismar, LA at a renewable diesel plant that will get us fifty percent toward that goal. We’re continually working to get to that goal of 100,000 barrels per day.”
“In addition to exploring the increase in our renewable fuels capacity, we are also exploring ways that we can expand the pool of feedstocks available to us. We don’t have a concern about the availability of feedstock over the short term, but we see a major opportunity for innovation in how to understand where those feedstocks will be coming from in the future. We have several projects underway that look at opportunities exploring those cover crops as feedstocks, as well as finding ways to have additional crush capacity in the U.S. Prior to the acquisition, both Chevron and Renewable Energy Group had invested in a company called CoverCress which focused on providing another feedstock for use in the production of our biofuels. In addition, Chevron has a joint-venture with two of Bunge’s crushing facilities, and we are partnering with them to expand those as we speak.”
“Chevron has a group called Chevron New Energies that was launched in 2021 with the goal to help customers reduce their carbon emissions and provide a lower carbon intensity for our existing Chevron operations. This is being done through research and investments in lower carbon opportunities including carbon capture, utilization and storage, renewable natural gas, hydrogen and other emerging technologies.”
“First and foremost, we believe the demand for biofuels is going to continue to grow. We continue to see growth in the traditional sectors of transportation, such as over the road trucking, the spaces that we’ve been working on for several years. But we also see growth in new transportation sectors like marine, aviation, and railroads. We anticipate the demand in those spaces is only going to continue to grow as more businesses, municipalities and governments are continue to set more and new lower carbon standards.”
“In order to meet that demand, Chevron Renewable Energy Group is expanding our renewable diesel plant in Geismar, LA. Today, it currently produces 90 million gallons of renewable diesel a year, and we’re currently working on expanding that to 340 million gallons a year. This project is progressing well and we anticipate having it in full operation in 2024.”
“While we think that the future of the industry is extremely bright, I wouldn’t say that success is going to be reached without some challenges. As an industry, we must continue to tell our story, and share solutions to advance a lower carbon future. We must stress the importance that it’s going to take all forms of energy to meet the growing lower carbon demand. Alternative solutions like electric vehicles are currently getting a lot of coverage both from consumers and policy advocates. But we need to continue to advocate for supporting policies that incentivize all solutions for a lower carbon future, rather than choosing winners and losers in this space.”
“Another area where we must continue to provide facts is the food-versus-fuel debate. It’s important for us to be able to share messages around the world about the growth of vegetable oils, and in particular, North America, promoting food security, providing additional animal protein and that vegetable oils will meet food, chemical and biofuel demand for the country as its needed.”
“I want to close today by sharing the recognition that not one of us, no one group, is going to be able to get this solved without working together."
"It’s going to take all of us: it’s going to take the farmer, it’s going to take the crushing facilities, it’s going to take biofuels producers, truck drivers, associations like Clean Fuels … and policy makers to be able to get to a lower carbon future that we all see as the possibility into the future.”
“We may have to become allies with those who have, historically, may not have been seen as allies, and those challenges need to be worked on together. I see this as especially important when it comes to the policy makers and maintaining a unified voice to advocate for longer term support for this industry. I know we can get there, but we must do it together.”
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