Business Briefs

By Staff | July 15, 2011

Australia-based Algae.Tec Ltd. has formed a collaboration contract with the Manildra Group to construct a demonstration-scale algae production facility at its 100 MMgy ethanol plant in Nowra, Australia. The project could be operational early next year. Manildra is making several contributions to the project, including access to the land and utilities. Algae.Tec’s role is to build the plant, and ensure safety and site regulations are met. One primary advantage of locating the demonstration-scale facility at the Manildra ethanol plant is the variety of CO2 sources that are available. Algae.Tec’s technology features enclosed photobioreactors.

Beginning in September, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will begin using biojet fuel sourced from fats, oils and greases on a series of more than 200 flights. KLM will have Dynamic Fuels to thank for the fuel. A 50/50 joint venture between Syntroleum Corp. and Tyson Foods Inc., Dynamic Fuels officially opened a commercial-scale renewable diesel facility in Geismar, La., using feedstock sourced from Tyson. The KLM flights will be from Amsterdam to Paris, and according to Dynamic Fuels, the commercial renewable jet fuel underwent “rigorous renewable jet fuel testing and certification.” The certification work was performed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Rolls-Royce Group and Cessna Aircraft Co. The fuel is made using Syntroleum’s Bio-Synfining Technology, a process that converts triglycerides or fatty acids using heat, hydrogen and proprietary catalysts. The entire process revolves around the Fischer-Tropsch process and Syntroleum focuses on three key areas. The first is the production and cleanup of synthesis gas made up of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The second is a process that converts the synthesis gas to wax. The final process, or the Synfining process, is an upgrading step that transforms the FT wax into the diesel or jet fuel.

Frazier, Barnes & Associates LLC recently announced that it has been retained to provide exclusive biodiesel market commercialization services for the new U.S. Biofuels Exchange (US-BX). Formed to become the ultimate sales and procurement tool for the biodiesel industry, US-BX will transform the way biofuel product is purchased and sold, at home and abroad. Sales and procurement of biofuel product can now be accomplished online with the touch of a button, the company states. The technology has the potential to significantly increase the liquidity of the biodiesel market and bring buyers and sellers together anonymously. FBA will focus on increasing the volume of biodiesel traded on the exchange. The US-BX has completed a rigorous testing program and all trading capabilities are now activated. Sellers post the specifics of their product on the internet, much like eBAY, and buyers execute the purchase at their convenience. The US-BX is a “two-sided” exchange, meaning that sellers can post “lots for sale” and buyers can post “lots wanted.” Everything is done in real-time and all postings are free.

Kartik Chandran might be the best person in the country to develop a new technology for converting organic waste sludge into biodiesel and methane. At least the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation thinks so. Chandran has been awarded $1.5 million to develop the system that will be put to the test at a sanitation facility in Accra, Ghana. Chandran, an associate professor at Columbia University, has already achieved a lot in the wastewater treatment sector. Along with his team at the New York City-based university, he developed a system to test nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions at wastewater treatment facilities approved by the U.S. EPA and now used across the U.S. Chandran has developed a unit of measure than can explain a microbe’s propensity to produce nitrous oxide. His research found that when the bacteria used to convert the ammonia become overworked, large emissions of nitrous oxide occur. When treatment facilities are not equipped to handle the overload on the bacteria, significant amounts of emissions occur. The waste and fecal sludge to biodiesel work will be done with a team of partners. The process the team will work on utilizes the fecal sludge and other organic materials going into the wastewater facility, potentially reducing the amount of waste necessary to process.

The Chrysler minivan’s engine may be quite different by 2013. Argonne National Laboratory is trying to combine the positive elements of gasoline and diesel engines for use in such vehicles as Chrysler’s popular Town & Country minivan. Steve Ciatti, a mechanical engineer at Argonne, is leading a team that is attempting to construct and test a hybrid engine that will employ the properties of the diesel engine, mainly the ability of the diesel engine to use compressed air without a spark to ignite the fuel into energy. Argonne isn’t alone in the effort to bridge the properties of the diesel and gasoline engines. The U.S. DOE is partaking in the effort, along with partners Chrysler, Delphi, FEV and Ohio State University. The DOE has spent almost $15.5 million on the project that first started in 2010, with the other partners putting up nearly the same amount. The end date for the project is scheduled for 2013 and to this point the work is only 17 percent complete, according to a presentation given by Chrysler during a DOE summit.

New Jersey is home to a new biodiesel terminal location. Sprague Energy and Sunoco Logistics held a grand opening ceremony for the terminal, located at Sunoco Logistics Newark Terminal, in June. The multiproduct fuel terminal will provide biodiesel-blended transportation fuel and heating oil. Sprague will have the ability to provide multiple biodiesel and Bioheat blends at the terminal for ultra low sulfur No. 2 diesel fuel, heating oil, and in the future, ultra low sulfur kerosene No. 1 diesel fuel. Blends available are B2, B5, B10 and B20. The location features 132,000 gallons of bulk storage and utilizes state-of-the-art rack injection. Biodiesel blended at the location will be sourced from a variety of producers and feedstocks. Government and private fleets will initially make up a significant portion of the demand for biodiesel-blended fuels sourced from terminal.

Ames, Iowa-based biodiesel producer Renewable Energy Group Inc., and its wholly-owned subsidiary REG Albert Lea LLC, entered into asset purchase agreements with SoyMor Cooperative and SoyMor Biodiesel LLC to acquire SoyMor’s idled 30 MMgy biodiesel facility in Albert Lea, Minn., according to an 8-K filing on June 13 to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the filing, REG would issue 1,850,000 newly-issued shares of its common stock and assume certain liabilities in exchange for the transfer of substantially all the assets of SoyMor Biodiesel LLC and SoyMor Cooperative’s soy lecithin assets, which are collocated with the biodiesel production facility, and are also idled. Closing of the deal is contingent on customary closing conditions, including the approval of SoyMor’s members. In 2009, SoyMor Biodiesel LLC received a $25 million loan from the USDA to diversify its operations by purchasing equipment that would enable it to convert multiple types of feedstocks, including an unrefined corn oil waste product from nearby ethanol facilities, into biodiesel. The original configuration of the plant, which opened in 2005, was built to exclusively process soybean oil.

Hawaii-based Pacific Biodiesel has hired two new employees to support its feedstock development project. Project Manager Matt Johnson and Farm Manager Dan Rudoy have been added to the company’s team. The two will support the cooperative feedstock development program that is being completed with the Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center. According to Johnson, the new project aims to determine the feasibility of producing a variety of different biodiesel feedstock in the Hawaiian Islands. This includes identifying the costs associated with feedstock production and the cost-per-gallon of oil produced. Oilseed crops have not traditionally been produced in the state commercially, he says. The two-year project will investigate the production of two varieties of sunflower, three varieties of camelina, one variety of flax and one type of chia, Johnson says. Initial acres for the trial will be planted this month. Johnson notes that a total of 100 to 150 acres are expected to be planted as part of the project.

Nansulate EPX insulation, corrosion prevention, chemical and flame resistant coating by Industrial Nanotech Inc. was created for insulation of pipes, tanks, and equipment to reduce energy costs and stand up to harsh environments. This two-part epoxy formula is splash resistant to acids, bases, and fuels and also reduces heat transfer to lower energy demand. It is easily applied with a texture sprayer, trowel or stiff brush while equipment is in-service. This textured coating is water-based, low odor, and low VOC. It insulates surfaces up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, including steam pipes, boilers, valves, heat exchangers, ovens, chilled water pipes and more. It can be used  for both metal (with Nansulate High Heat primer) and nonmetal surfaces, and its hard, durable finish stands up well to humid environments. The coating lowers energy consumption, reduces surface temperature for worker safety and lowers heat emitted into the environment by hot equipment. It has a short return on investment, typically one year or less, with average reported energy savings of 20 percent, according to the company.


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