Australian biodiesel producer to enter U.S. market

By | January 24, 2007
Australian Renewable Fuels Limited (AR Fuels) has announced plans to expand its operations into the U.S. renewable fuels market. The newly incorporated company is called American Renewable Fuels Inc. and will be headed by CEO Ross Garrity in Dallas, Texas.

Planning is already underway to build two 75 MMgy plants in the United States using a combination of tallow and waste vegetable oil as feedstocks. At press time, site selection for the first facility was to be announced in the first quarter of 2007, with construction expected to start in the third quarter of 2007 followed by production in the second quarter of 2008. The second project would likely follow six months behind the first. "The U.S. biodiesel market has really started to scale in 2006, and it's going to take off in 2007 with proven technologies capable of producing high-quality biodiesel and blends at the volumes and favorable economics needed to sustain the industry," Garrity told Biodiesel Magazine.

AR Fuels, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange since July 2005, has already commissioned two multi-feedstock biodiesel plants in Australia each with a capacity to produce 12.5 MMgy of high-quality biodiesel using an 80/20 blend of tallow and canola, respectively, according to Garrity. Both plants are currently producing at rates exceeding 60 percent of annual capacity. The first plant, in Adelaide, South Australia, started production in March 2006, while a second plant in Perth, Western Australia, started production in August 2006. A third project is currently being developed, with the site to be named later this year, Garrity said.

AR Fuels will use the same Energea process technology in the United States that it has successfully employed in Australia. In fact, American Renewable Fuels Inc. has purchased the Energea technology patent rights from Austrian-based Energea Umwelttechnologie GmbH, receiving exclusive rights to sell the Energea technology in North America. Garrity said the patented Energea continuous transesterification reactor (CTER) technology is one of the few processes in the world proven to turn high free fatty acid feedstocks, such as tallow and waste vegetable oil, into renewable fuel that will meet U.S. and more strict European specifications. "It allows us to produce diesel from lower-cost feedstocks like tallow, as opposed to soybean oil," Garrity said. Energea received its CTER process technology patent in 1998 and has been making improvements to it since then. The process is also patented in North America.

American Renewable Fuels will act as both a biodiesel technology provider and a biodiesel producer. A number of companies have attempted to produce biodiesel from tallow, but few have succeeded, Garrity said. "The Energea technology has been proven at both Australian facilities to nameplate production volume, using tallow as the primary feedstock," he said. "We are excited to be able to provide this proven technology, our holistic approach [with our partners] and our experience as a biodiesel producer to minimize risks and accelerate biofuels development in the U.S. market." Details of the Energea technology can be viewed at www.energea.at.
 
 
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