Paramount business seeks help with conversion plans

By Arnold Adler

Contributing Writer

PARAMOUNT — Amid concern over an oil spill that caused the closure of several Orange County beaches, the City Council here is helping a local company planning to produce non-petroleum fuels.

World Energy, 14700 Downey Ave., has applied for an amendment to a conditional use permit that was approved in 2014, which allowed for the production of renewable jet fuel and renewable diesel fuel from high-quality beef tallow and non-edible vegetable oil, Planning Director John Carver told the City Council Oct. 5. 

The council approved a loan of $92,095 to pay an environmental firm working on the company’s requested CUP change.

According to a report Carver prepared for the City Council, World Energy, established in 1998, has not processed petroleum-based fuel or asphalt since production began on renewable fuels seven years ago.

According to the company’s website, World Energy is a leader in the production and distribution of low-carbon fuels, including biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel.

Since 2018, the company has been converting its Paramount facility into one of the cleanest fuel refineries in the world. The conversion will reduce both refinery and fuel emissions while supporting more than 100 advanced, green economy jobs.

“This project will transform the Paramount facility into California’s most important hub for the production and blending of advanced renewable fuels,” said Bryan Sherbacow, chief commercial officer of World Energy.

“This investment will better enable us to deliver much needed low-carbon solutions to our customers. Importantly, with 150 million gallons of annual renewable jet production capacity, World Energy will be able to help the commercial aviation industry combat its greenhouse gas emissions.”

Founded in 1998, World Energy produces and operates biodiesel manufacturing plants in Houston, Mississippi, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Ontario.

Carver said a company called MRS Environmental was originally approved by the City Council in November 2019 to prepare a subsequent environmental impact for the conversion project.

The original contract was for $243,330 and World Energy has provided pass-through funding to the city through a reimbursement agreement.

“In March 2020, the contract increased by $18,560 to include water utilities, and cultural resources as stand-alone issue areas to be examined,” Carver said in his report.

Last June, the council approved an increase of $86,490 in the consultant’s contract. The increase was necessary due to unanticipated weekly meetings with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and between the city, World Energy and the consultant.

Carver said the latest request of $92,095 will be fully reimbursed by World Energy, bringing the total amount of the contract with MRS Environmental to $440,475. World Energy will pay 100% of the cost.

“The (CUP) amendment that will eventually go before the Planning Commission and then the City Council is a request to permanently convert the refinery from petroleum-based production to renewable fuel production,” he added.

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