Business Briefs

By | January 15, 2009
›Iowa-based Renewable Energy Group Inc. met three biodiesel production/distribution milestones recently. It partnered with Kellerstrass Oil Co., an independent fuel marketer in Odgen, Utah, to sell truckloads of pure or blended biodiesel, it received a $740,000 grant from the Iowa Power Fund to staff a new state-of-the-art biodiesel research and feedstock commercialization lab at its headquarters in Ames, and it celebrated the grand opening of Blackhawk Biofuels LLC in Danville, Ill., in November. Blackhawk Biofuels and REG acquired the 45 MMgy plant from Biofuels Co. of America LLC earlier this year.

›Great Plains-The Camelina Co. and the Bear Paw Development Corp. received a $50,000 grant from the Montana Agriculture Development Council to conduct a feasibility study for a new oilseed crushing plant that would ultimately produce feedstocks for biodiesel production. Great Plains is currently contracting with farmers to raise camelina in Montana, and neighboring states and provinces. Bear Paw Development is a regional economic development organization based in Havre, Mont.

›The state of Connecticut recently awarded 15 grants worth more than $3.3 million to support the state's biodiesel industry. Four grants were awarded to biodiesel production facilities through the Production Facility Grant Program. Recipients were Greenleaf Biofuels LLC, DBS Energy Inc., BioDiesel One Ltd. and CT Biodiesel LLC. In addition, three universities received funding through the Fuel Diversification Grant Program, while seven biodiesel distribution facilities will receive grants through the Distribution Facilities Grant Program, including Magellan Terminal Holdings LP. All three programs are funded by the state's Department of Economic and Community Development, and administered by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology. To learn more about the grants and their recipients, visit

›Fort Collins, Colo.-based Solix Biofuels, a technology partner of Colorado State University, raised $10.5 million in a Series A round of outside financing and reached an agreement with its investors for an additional $5 million to support the construction of a pilot-scale algae oil production plant in Durango, Colo. The oil produced at the facility will be used by biodiesel producers and the chemical industry, according to Chief Executive Officer Doug Henston. I2BF Venture Capital and Bohemian Investments led the Series A round. Southern Ute Alternative Energy LLC, Valero Energy Corp. and Infield Capital also participated.

›The Buenos Aires, Brazil, office of Baker & McKenzie advised Biogreen Oil Argentina SRL in an agreement with the province of Santiago del Estero, Argentina, to foster the growth of jatropha crops to be used as a local biodiesel feedstock. The agreement calls for up to 40,000 hectares (99,000 acres) of land owned by approximately 4,000 farmers, which would receive jatropha planting assistance from Biogreen Oil.

›Ohio-based Cognis Corp. recently announced a partnership with Biodiesel Analytical Solutions, a supplier of biodiesel quality testing solutions. Biodiesel Analytical Solutions will sell and support Cognis' QTA system, which uses infrared technology to digitize the light spectra of a biodiesel sample. The digitized spectra are sent to Cognis' central database via the Internet, where algorithms convert the spectra into quality measurements that can be viewed online. The process takes less than two minutes to complete, according to Cognis.

While Biodiesel Analytical Solutions will sell and support the system, Cognis will continue to maintain its online 24-hours-per-day, seven-days-per-week support.

›German biofuels producer Vereinigte BioEnergie AG (Verbio) reported higher profits during the first nine months of 2008 due to increased biodiesel exports to Eastern Europe. The company said its biodiesel profits in particular were €16.4 million ($20.8 million). Verbio had been running at 94 percent of its 450,000-ton-per-year (123 MMgy) production capacity.

Meanwhile, German biodiesel producer Petrotec AG posted net sales of €41 million ($61 million) during its first half of 2008, up 29 percent from 2007. The company's production capacity is 185,000 tons per year (53 MMgy).

›Greenline Industries Inc., a California-based biodiesel equipment provider, has partnered with Georgia-based cotton gin equipment supplier Lummus Corp. to provide joint cottonseed-oil-to-biodiesel solutions to customers. Lummus will supply the equipment to delint the cottonseed, while Greenline will offer its waterless biodiesel production platform.

According to Lummus, a cottonseed's oil yield can range between 30 and 40 gallons per acre, depending on where the cotton is grown.

In other business news, Greenline added Gavin Carmichael to its sales team. He has 24 years of capital sales experience, two of which he spent as vice president of sales with a biodiesel equipment manufacturer based in Kansas. For 22 years, he sold manufacturing process automation equipment for Honeywell International Inc.'s Honeywell-Measurex division, representing the U.S., Africa and Asia, where he worked to establish new operations.

›On Nov. 20, Maas Cos. Inc. auctioned off Great River Soy Processing LLC, a 5 MMgy biodiesel plant in Lilbourn, Mo. Construction of the facility was completed in 2007, but it only operated for two weeks before shutting down due to high feedstock costs. A Maas Cos. representative told Biodiesel Magazine that the auction was successful, but the buyer remained unnamed at press time.

›Texas-based GreenHunter Biofuels Inc. said it resumed operations Nov. 25 after being shut down for more than two months to assess and repair damage caused by Hurricane Ike.

The 105 MMgy biodiesel production plant sustained damage to offices, piping between reagent tanks, and some small and intermediate tank foundations. The company also reported a loss of nearly 50 barrels of canola oil. In order to pay for the repairs completed as of Nov. 25, the company said it utilized its existing working capital. It will also be collecting money from its various insurance carriers.
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