Business Briefs

By | April 26, 2010
GreeNow, a company leasing biodiesel-powered generators for events, announced its new winter power system for diesel generators was successfully demonstrated at three New York events this past season. Under development and testing for two years, the company's winter power system allows event organizers who wish to minimize their carbon footprint to use B100 without concerns of fuel gelling. GreeNow's generators were utilized at the Knickerbocker Ice Festival in Rockland Lake, N.Y., and by Metrovision to power its mobile broadcast trucks at an international Red Bull press event in New York City, both in January; and by Events in Motion, which contracted GreeNow and its biodiesel-powered generators to power a movie premier for Percy Jackson in NYC in early February.

The merger of German diesel engine maker, MAN Diesel SE, and MAN Turbo AG was completed in March. The new enterprise, based in Augsburg, is named MAN Diesel & Turbo SE. By combining the complementary product portfolios of the two firms, the merged company will strive for growth and seek to strengthen its position in the relevant market segments. "The MAN Group will be seeking to pool its expertise in large bore diesel engines and power plants with its strengths in compressor and turbine technologies," said Klaus Stahlmann, MAN Diesel & Turbo SE's CEO. The company stated it will now be in a position to offer its customers product packages, such as turnkey Diesel Combined Cycle (DCC) power plants, or waste heat recovery systems for maritime applications.

The National Advanced Biofuels Consortium
, created by stimulus packages under the federal government's economic recovery efforts, has selected Pall Corp. to develop filtration and separation processes for a U.S. DOE project to enable fungible biomass-based fuels to be integrated into the existing hydrocarbon fuels infrastructure. The company will be an engineering partner on each of six processes for biofuel production being evaluated under the program. These processes include fermentation, catalytic conversion, catalytic fast pyrolysis, hydropyrolysis, hydrothermal liquefaction, and a low-cost, one-step syngas-to-distillates process. The initiative will deliver at least one pilot-ready process, design reports, and life-cycle analysis demonstrating economics and environmental benefits. The $46 million project will be co-led by NREL and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Yara North America Inc., a leading North American producer and seller of Air1-branded diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), signed Canadian automotive fluid packaging and distribution firm Recochem Inc. to a long-term supply and packaging agreement for Air1. DEF is used with urea selective catalytic reduction systems for NOx control. Yara and Recochem will work to sell Air1 throughout Canada helping to build out the DEF infrastructure.

General Motors Corp. just announced a five-year partnership with the U.S. DOE to demonstrate that jatropha can produce significant quantities of oil for conversion to biodiesel, and to develop new high-yielding varieties that can withstand frost and grow in temperate climates. Two jatropha farms will be established in India: a 16-hectare (39.5 acre) plot in Bhavngar and a 38-hectare plot in Kalol, near GM's India car manufacturing plant. An existing 30-hectare jatropha farm in Bhavnagar also will be managed under this project.

Start-up firm Cyclogine Inc. is working to bring its biodiesel-related technologies and materials to market, including a precipitant material for pretreating low-grade feedstocks high in free fatty acids such as corn oil from ethanol plants. Cyclogine also has a new biodiesel catalyst that requires less methanol than conventional catalysts, reduces or eliminates soap formation, has rapid reaction times and requires no feedstock preheating. The company also developed an efficient distillation process for methanol removal, among other technologies. Cyclogine is looking for potential partners-biodiesel plants-to validate performance of its products at full-scale operating facilities. For more information, contact Jeff Fischer at (920) 229-1767.

Provacs Manufacturing Inc.
has developed a new light-weight vacuum system for collection of used cooking oils and trap grease for small biodiesel operations, called the Provacs Toolbox Vacuum Tank. Made of aluminum, the tank and pump system can be custom-made for any standard pickup truck bed and is sized up to 500 gallons. The company has patented the internals of the tank, which are designed to stabilize tank pressure. A complete package, including tank, pump, a Honda 5.5 horsepower motor and more, costs $5,500.

Renewable Energy Group Inc., the largest biodiesel company in the U.S., idled two of its plants in late March and laid off 22 employees due to the continued lapse of the biodiesel tax credit, the company stated. The closed plants are the 12 MMgy REG Ralston and the 30 MMgy REG Newton refineries, both in Iowa. Since Jan. 1, REG and its network plants have laid off 45 percent of their workforce. Employees not laid off have taken pay cuts, the company stated.

Heartland Biodiesel LLC has developed a new purification column design to make handling and removal of purification media easier, safer and more efficient for biodiesel plant operators. The columns are swiveled on an axis from the vertical to an angled position where they can be securely held in place while the bottom hub system is removed in one step, eliminating the need for a crew of workers and heavy equipment to exchange spent media. It also reduces workers' contact time with the spent, hazardous material. Heartland Biodiesel has incorporated its proprietary distribution system into this design, which can extend the life of purification media. The company stated its new column design is the only one on the market in which either ion exchange resin or Eco2pure media can be used in a down or up flow configuration determined by the media being used.

Four Rivers BioFuels Ltd., a subsidiary of Four Rivers BioEnergy Inc., signed an offtake agreement with BP Oil International Ltd. for the sale of at least 60,000 metric tons (approximately 18 million gallons) per year of on-spec biodiesel. The initial term of the agreement is five years. With current production capacity at 77,000 tons per year, Four Rivers BioFuels stated that it intends to expand to 100,000 tons in the next seven months, and up to 200,000 tons within three years. The company is seeking financing for the working capital necessary for plant expansion. Also, feedstock supply agreements are still being negotiated.
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