BusinessBriefs: Companies, Organizations & People in the News

By | October 14, 2009
>> Lake Erie Biofuels LLC has a new name, Hero BX, and with it a new marketing strategy based on its proprietary blending technology to ensure high-quality biodiesel. "HERO BX is producing superior biodiesel today using first generation feedstocks from waste oil to catfish oil, to vegetable oil, and tomorrow we will add to our feedstock portfolio the most efficient and cost competitive second- and third-generation feedstocks such as camelina and algae," CEO Leonard Kosar said. Currently producing 45 MMgy at its Erie, Pa., plant, the company plans to expand as it continues to grow its global market.

>> Global Alternative Fuels LLC began commissioning the expansion of its El Paso, Texas, biodiesel plant in October, tripling its capacity to 15 MMgy within a year of opening its doors. Plans are being made to boost production another 10 MMgy within a couple of years at the multi-feedstock plant, according to Dean Rigg, chief financial officer. SRS Engineering Corp. was initially working on a methanol recovery system and feedstock pretreatment system when its role was expanded to include the two-stage expansion.

>> The nation's largest independent renderer, Darling International Inc. has teamed up with Valero Energy Corp. to apply for a U.S. DOE loan guarantee to build a facility capable of producing more than 10,000 barrels per day (135 MMgy) of renewable diesel on a site next to Valero's St. Charles oil refinery near Norco, La. For some time Darling has been studying the biofuels arena and looking for the right partner for a joint venture, according to Brad Phillips, treasurer. The company is not announcing the technology provider at this time, although Phillips said it will be a smaller scale hydrotreating process similar to current oil refining technology.

>> A Scottish consortium has bought out the original investors in Argent Energy Plc, Motherwell, Scotland. The consortium, which includes Souter Investments and existing plant managers, bought the company from a group of investors led by Cinven Ltd. Argent Energy pioneered large-scale commercial biodiesel production in the United Kingdom when it started production in 2005. "Since we started production we have delivered over 170 million liters (45 million gallons) of biodiesel and our plant is currently running close to full capacity," said Jim Walker, managing director. With a capacity of 13.5 MMgy, the plant recycles used cooking oil and tallow as feedstocks. A new preprocessing facility is currently under construction.

>> National Wind Solutions Inc., Houston, has acquired a shuttered biodiesel plant in Poteet, Texas, in Atascosa County. The company is evaluating engineering proposals to modernize the facility and considering moving it to another location. If brought into production successfully, it will be the alternative energy company's first venture into biofuels. A company spokesman said if upgrading and converting to multi-feedstock capability can be accomplished economically, the company is considering further acquisitions.

>> Cummins Inc.'s filtration division announced in August it was cutting 400 jobs at its Lake Mills, Iowa, plant. The company will consolidate North American filter assembly operations in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, beginning in November. While the Lake Mills plant will lose 400 jobs, Cummins stated it will still employ 110 people there. "The current recession has led to the steepest drop in sales in the 52-year history of Cummins Filtration," said Joseph Saoud, division president. "Sales have fallen more than 30 percent since November 2008, and we do not expect any meaningful recovery in demand until 2011."

>>Brazilian oil company, Petrobras, plans to invest $3.84-million in an Inaja palm biodiesel plant in the Amazon state of Roraima. According to Brazil's crop research agency, Inaja palm has seven times the oil yield of soybeans at 975 gallons per hectare. Petrobras currently has three biodiesel plants in operation at Quixadá, Ceará; Montes Claros, Minas Gerais; and Candeias, Bahia.

>> U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) hosted senior U.S.EPA officials on Sept. 3 at a Newton, Iowa, biodiesel plant managed by Renewable Energy Group Inc. The forum highlighted the challenges facing the biodiesel industry in Iowa and the need for the EPA to take interim steps to implement the biodiesel volume goals under the renewable fuels standard. "Biodiesel stakeholders have made important business decisions based on the modest biodiesel volume requirements provided for in RFS2," said Manning Feraci, National Biodiesel Board vice president for federal affairs.

>> Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, announced in September that the Methes Energies' biodiesel plant will receive up to $5.4 million through the ecoENERGY for Biofuels program."Our government is delivering results for families and workers in Mississauga by encouraging clean energy development," said Minister Raitt. "By investing in this project, we are helping to create and sustain local jobs and economic opportunities now, when they're needed the most."

>> Cognis Corp. announced that it has added two capabilities to its Quality Trait Analysis (QTA) System for Biodiesel. "The addition of the oxidation stability and cold soak filtration tests to the QTA System enables biodiesel producers and buyers to quickly assess the quality of their product," the company stated. Cognis' expanded capabilities for its QTA system is the latest in a series of industry introductions in recent months as companies offer solutions for biodiesel producers preparing to meet new ASTM guidelines for biodiesel.

>> The popularity of the diesel-electric hybrid vehicles has helped Navistar become the first original equipment manufacturer to accumulate more than 5 million miles with customers driving hybrid International-brand trucks and IC Bus -brand buses. Depending on the specific application and other conditions, Navistar reports hybrid trucks can deliver up to 40 percent fuel savings in stop-and-go driving and pick-up/delivery operations.

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