Pennsylvania Plant Averts Disaster

American Biodiesel Energy Inc. gears up for restart following fire
By Erin Voegele | July 15, 2011

Erie, Pa.-based American Biodiesel Energy Inc’s 5 MMgy biodiesel plant faced down a fire in early May, and won. According to Lee Akerly, the company’s president, the biodiesel plant shares a building with North American Powder Coatings. The fire started in the powder coatings side of the building he says, noting that American Biodiesel Energy escaped the fire with only minor damage.

Akerly estimates his plant will be fully operational by mid-July. “As soon as the building is repaired, we’ll be back in business,” he says. “It’s not a matter of putting the biodiesel [plant] back together; it’s a matter of putting the building back together so that we have the proper infrastructure, such as electricity.”

According to Akerly, superior engineering and design of the plant helped avoid disaster during the fire. On one side of the wall there was fire, on the other was our methanol tank, he says. The properly insulated methanol tank was not affected, however, aside from some smoke damage to the insulation.

American Biodiesel Energy’s plant began operations in 2009. The faculty converts waste oil feedstock into biodiesel.

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