North American Biofuels plans pilot plant expansion

By | February 01, 2006
North American Biofuels Corporation, a pilot plant currently producing 1 MMgy of biodiesel, will begin an expansion project this spring, bringing total capacity to over 5 MMgy.

The Long Island, N.Y., facility currently produces 3,000 gallons of biodiesel per day from trap grease collected in New York City. After expansion, it will also take in yellow grease and fish oil, but not the popular soybean oil feedstock. "We are different," said Allen Ellenbogen, executive vice president of Business Development for North American Biofuels. "The city is our farm."

The pilot plant is located adjacent to Russell Reid, a wastewater management company based in Keasbey, N.J., that provides wastewater transportation and disposal, grease trap pumping, and other non-hazardous wastewater services to the local area. These feedstocks are relatively cheap, according to Ellenbogen, who said an average biodiesel plant spends roughly $1 per gallon produced, while North American Biofuels spends 50 cents per gallon.

Because it is a modular plant, measuring 9 feet high by 8 feet wide by 40 feet long, adding another module to the existing plant will be fairly easy, Ellenbogen said. "These modules are designed so they can be stacked up like a small skyscraper," said David Butler, CEO of North American Biofuels. "They are also very mobile. The modules can be dismantled and moved to another location in very little time." Each module is capable of producing 12,000 gallons of biodiesel per day or 4 MMgy. North American Biofuels plans to add a third module, which is already under construction, after the second addition.

North American Biofuels' unique feedstock is matched by its unconventional production process. The plant uses low heat and a chemical process to produce its biodiesel. "We use a low-temperature process with no live steam," Butler told Biodiesel Magazine.

Ellenbogen and Butler stumbled across biodiesel while trying to find a solution to the city's grease problems. New York City creates over 64 million gallons of trap grease each year, Ellenbogen said. North American Biofuels plans to place a number of module plants in New Jersey and the New York City area in the future.
 
 
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