A $6 million lawsuit has been filed against Chevron Technology Ventures, the oil giant’s technology investment and commercialization arm, over what was proposed to be one of the largest biodiesel plants in North America. Houston-based Standard Renewable Energy is alleging that Chevron breached their limited partnership agreement, undermining the project and causing revenue losses. The suit also claims that while Chevron used its involvement to “green wash” their media image they withheld financial and technical assistance. Green washing involves the exaggeration and misrepresentation of a company’s commitment and actions to be environmentally conscious.
“We strongly refute claims laid out in the suit,” Chevron spokesman Donald Campbell told the Galveston Daily News. Chevron is a minority partner in the project; it has invested in the plant five separate times over the last two years, amounting to a 22 percent stake. Construction cost overruns have plagued the project and the construction firm, J.M. Davidson Inc., says it’s owed $4.2 million. Chevron, meanwhile, insists that it is not obligated to invest any more money into the plant. This comes after Chevron CTO Donal Paul told us that when it comes to fuel startups, “Scale-up is the key.”
With biofuel production falling on hard times, perhaps the Galveston plant could grace our ongoing biofuel obituary series. The plant, located in Galveston, Texas, is run by BioSelect Fuels, a subsidiary of Standard Renewable Energy. The plant currently produces about 20 million gallons of biodiesel. Plans had been to increase production to 60 million gallons by the fall of 2007 and up to 110 million gallons by 2008, which would have made it one of largest facilities in the country.