Business Briefs

Companies, Organizations & People in the News
By Staff | September 11, 2014

Argentina-based Abatec SA has introduced its BD4-MG system to produce methanol from raw glycerol.  The Savoia BD4-MG system can treat 1,000 liters (250 gallons) per day of glycerol to produce around 35 percent dry methanol, 25 percent free fatty acids and balance of glycols. The only inputs are water and power, according to Abatec. The methanol and free fatty acids can be added to the alcoholysis reaction to reduce the cost of biodiesel production. The company also offers the BD2-G reactor to convert 100 percent glycerol in cattle feed.

Flint Hills Resources has hired Russell Leighton and Jeremy Morse to lead the Duonix LLC biodiesel plant in Beatrice, Neb. The biodiesel plant is part of a joint venture between Flint Hills Resources and Benefuel Inc. In May, Flint Hills Resources announced it would begin retrofitting the plant in preparation for the first commercial-scale use of an innovative biodiesel technology from Benefuel, called Ensel. Leighton and Morse will serve as plant manager and production manager, respectively. Leighton has more than 25 years of experience in the oil, gas and chemical industries and will be responsible for overall management and administration of the facility. Prior to joining Flint Hills Resources, Leighton oversaw quality management systems in the U.S. and abroad as director of operations for Tetra Technologies. Morse will serve as production manager, focusing on the startup and commissioning of the new plant. Most recently, Morse was plant superintendent of AGP in Algona, Iowa, where he was responsible for maintaining plant operations and product quality.

Neste Oil Corp. and Renewable Algae Energy, a U.S.-based algae biomass producer, have signed a contingent commercial algae oil offtake agreement. Algae oil is one of the alternatives being researched by Neste Oil for use as a feedstock for producing NEXBTL renewable diesel in the future. Cooperation with RAE is intended to secure Neste Oil’s access to a cost-effective supply of industrial volumes of algae oil in the future. Implementation of the agreement will require RAE to increase its algae oil production capacity and to comply with the requirements of biofuel legislation with strict sustainability criteria in the U.S. and the EU throughout the production chain. RAE anticipates that it will be able to produce commercial-scale volumes of algae oil from 2016 onwards.

SG Preston plans to build a 120 MMgy renewable diesel facility in Lawrence County, Ohio. The SGP South Point facility, expected to be complete in 2017, will cost $400 million and create 100 permanent jobs, the company stated. Pre-engineering studies are slated to begin next month. Partners in the project include the Lawrence County Economic Development Council, which is investing 62 acres in land and other incentives. The Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth and Jobs-Ohio were also instrumental in securing the investment and technology.

The biodiesel industry suffered a major loss this summer when Dallas Hanks, 51, died of cancer. A native of Burley, Idaho, Hanks earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Utah State University, and pioneered the idea of growing biofuel feedstock on nontraditional lands. Hanks was a big supporter of and contributor to the National Biodiesel Board’s Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel Program, where student scientists could be offered scholarships to attend industry events and other scientific mentoring activities. To honor Hanks’ contributions to biodiesel research, the National Biodiesel Foundation has established the Next Generation Scientists Dallas Hanks Memorial Fund, the proceeds of which will be used to advance the original objectives of the program and assist in carrying out the visionary work started by Hanks.

Two defendants in two separate biodiesel RIN fraud cases pleaded guilty in federal court recently. Nathan Stoliar, 64, of Australia, pleaded guilty in federal court in Las Vegas on July 22 to five felonies for his role in multiple schemes, worth in excess of $41 million, to generate fraudulent biodiesel credits and to export biodiesel without providing biodiesel credits to the U.S. as required by law, according to the Justice Department. Stoliar is required by the plea to forfeit $4 million and pay $1 million in restitution. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for each count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering and wire fraud, five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy, and two years in prison and a $250,000 fine for making false statements under the Clean Air Act. Cima Green’s former chief operating officer Katirina Tracy (aka Katirina Pattison), indicted last fall in the e-Biofuels scandal, entered a plea agreement admitting guilt to conspiring with others to commit fraud against the government. She faces up to five years in prison and fines up to $250,000.

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