Northdale Oil Considering Building Biodiesel Plant in Grand Forks

Northdale Oil Inc., a Grand Forks fuel company, is financing a feasibility study to determine whether to build a biodiesel plant in the city.

The proposed biodiesel plant would process raw vegetable oil such as soybean or canola, said Tyler Stockton, Northdale Oil Inc. procurement manager.

“It would not be crushing. We would buy oil from a crushing facility,” he said.

Northdale hopes to be able to procure the oil from a plant that processes oil crops grown by Red River Valley farmers in North Dakota and Minnesota.

“As locally sourced as we can,” Stockton said.

The plant would be built slightly north of Grand Forks, adjacent to the company’s bulk fuel plant.

Initially, the plant would produce about 1.2 million gallons of vegetable oil annually and would have the capability to expand to 5 million gallons, Stockton said.

The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Council awarded Northdale Oil $50,000 in March 2024 to conduct a feasibility study on the biodiesel plant. The study conducted by Ag Management Solutions, based in Mankato, Minnesota, will get under way soon, Stockton said. The study is expected to take about six weeks to complete.

If the project is launched, North Dakota Oil hopes to begin construction later this fall or this winter. Construction would take 18 months from the time it began, Stockton estimated.

Owning and operating its own biodiesel plant would give Northdale Oil an opportunity to “cut out the middleman," he said, noting that its existing biodiesel sales puts it in a strategic position for ownership of a biodiesel plant.

“I think we’re in a unique spot of being a seller for it,” he said.

Northdale Oil already sells biodiesel, which it buys from processing plants, to customers in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Under Minnesota law, diesel fuel sold within the state must contain 20% biodiesel during the summer and 5% in the winter. Northdale Oil also has North Dakota customers who buy biodiesel year-round, Stockton said.

The company owns 32 fuel stores in North Dakota and Minnesota and offers bulk delivery of its products, which besides biodiesel includes gasoline and diesel, racing fuel and jet and aviation fuel.

By Ann Bailey