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From Patent to Progress

January 15, 2024

Myron Danzer and Chevron Renewable Energy Group continue forging new paths for biofuels

Myron Danzer

Myron Danzer, executive director of biodiesel projects for Chevron Renewable Energy Group

As an inventor on an early patent for producing biodiesel, one might think that Myron Danzer’s contribution to the industry was enough innovation to last an entire career. But, like many of his fellow Iowans, Danzer wasn’t content to rest on that accomplishment alone.

After 16 years with Renewable Energy Group, driven by an innate spirit of ingenuity and a passion for innovation, Danzer continues to lead the development of new industry-transforming processes as Chevron Renewable Energy Group’s executive director of biodiesel projects.

One of the organization’s largest milestones occurred last summer when Chevron acquired Renewable Energy Group. With 11 biorefineries in the U.S. and Europe, Chevron Renewable Energy Group produced 441 million gallons of renewable fuels, which resulted in roughly 3.9 million metric tons of carbon reduced in 2022 alone and confirmed their status as a leader in converting renewable resources into lower carbon biofuels.

As one of the originators of the biodiesel production process, Danzer draws upon nearly 40 years of industry experience to lead the company’s efforts in providing renewable fuel solutions with a reduced carbon emissions footprint.  

Myron Danzer and Ralston Team

“In 2002, REG built the continuous flow plant, which is the process we still use today in many of our biodiesel plants, particularly the ones in Iowa,” Danzer said. “That technology lives on, but we’ve made a variety of process improvements that make biodiesel more economical to produce, all while realizing efficiencies with the oil and chemicals we use in its production.”

Dr. Martin Haverly, Chevron Renewable Energy Group’s Director of Research & Development and Innovation, works closely with Danzer’s team and is tasked with advancing renewable fuel technologies with the future in mind. Supporting those efforts is Iowa’s commitment to renewable fuel production, evident by the state’s status as the United States’ leader in ethanol and biodiesel production.

“It’s inspiring to think about how much investment in renewables has happened in Iowa over the last decade,” Haverly said. “We’re anticipating even more investments on the horizon thanks to rapid advancements in technology adoption and infrastructure development across the state. It’s truly amazing to be a part of.”

Dr. Martin Haverly

Dr. Martin Haverly, director of research & development and innovation for Chevron Renewable Energy Group

Danzer and Haverly also cited state government support and leading-edge renewables research at Iowa’s universities as reasons to remain bullish on the future of Iowa’s biofuels industry. An example of these efforts include Chevron’s partnership with Iowa State University on a hydrotreater pilot plant at Iowa State University’s BioCentury Research Farm. The hydrotreater pilot plant utilizes the expertise of both organizations to better understand how various biomass feedstocks can play a role in the production of renewable fuels with a specific focus on renewable diesel

“We’re very excited that Chevron Renewable Energy Group is going to continue to operate out of Ames (Iowa), with a focus on our lower carbon fuels business segment,” Danzer said. “Chevron believes the future of energy is lower carbon and one of our aspirations is to have the capacity to profitably produce 100,000 barrels of renewable fuel per day by 2030, and the investments we’ve made in our Iowa biodiesel production facilities in Newton, Mason City and Ralston are critical in reaching that milestone and helping our clients’ reach their carbon emission reduction targets.”  

The convergence of Chevron Renewable Energy Group's strategic vision and Iowa’s exceptional bioindustry has led to a significant number of renewable fuels on the market.

“Chevron didn't have much of a footprint in Iowa prior to acquiring REG, but since acquiring us, Chevron has remained committed to keep the business going strong and continue to invest in Iowa. This says a lot about Chevron's perspective when they bought us, they recognized that there’s something special going on here and that it should be fostered,” Haverly said.  

Dr. Haverly speaking at an event

This sentiment encapsulates how companies like Chevron Renewable Energy Group tap into Iowa's unique blend of business-friendly policies and cutting-edge research institutions. As the company forges ahead with its ambitious goals, Iowa remains a unique place for innovators in the bioindustry to call home.

“I’ve traveled all over the country and people ask, ‘since you’ve traveled so much, where is the best place to live,’” Danzer said. “I always come back to the conclusion that it’s Iowa. When you look around at our surroundings, and the pride we have in Iowa, it’s special. There are pockets of that in the U.S., but in Iowa, it’s everywhere.”

Learn more about Iowa's renewable energy leadership:

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