DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — A crude oil refiner in North Dakota is studying the possibility of turning vegetable oil into fuel.

Tesoro Refinery is planning to implement an 8,000-barrel-per-day diesel hydrotreater to process soy or distillers corn oil into renewable diesel, The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/2tFyuy2) reported. The North Dakota Industrial Commission has granted the company a $500,000 grant to help cover the project's $3.5 million cost.

The project will use 16,800 gallons per day of vegetable oils to create a 5 percent renewable diesel mix. It will also provide an added market for regional oil seed processing facilities.

Ron Day is Tesoro's North Dakota government and public affairs director. He says the renewable diesel is different than biodiesel, which can be purchased at gas station blender pumps, because it has the same molecular makeup as diesel fuel.

"Compared to biodiesel that is blended into petroleum diesel at truck racks, renewable diesel is a superior quality product because, unlike biodiesel, renewable diesel is a pure hydrocarbon stream containing no oxygen," the company said in its grant application to the NDIC.

The new mix will be quality fuel that will maintain a vehicle's performance. The diesel mix is expected to be marketed in North Dakota by the end of 2017.

"Once Tesoro purchased the facility, the company has looked for opportunities to optimize the refinery and create a reliable, long-term operation," the company said in a statement. "The implementation of the renewable diesel project is one such opportunity."

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com