Business Briefs

By Staff | October 25, 2011

Bard Holding Inc. announced the opening of its Calhoun, Ga., facility, the first of multiple manufacturing sites the company plans to operate in Georgia. The company’s global mission is to provide algae as a viable and alternative source to petroleum-based fuels by producing sustainable, green energy accessible to consumers around the world. Bard will direct manufacturing in accordance with a strategic and balanced need for nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and the biofuels market. Executives say Bard has developed an integrated algae production system resulting in high-grade algae biomass and valuable oils. It is a closed system that minimizes contamination and is designed for modular, commercial-scale production.

The Cooking Oil Recycling Program of Buncombe County is a unique pilot project to recycle used cooking oil into biodiesel and keep oils and greases out of the wastewater system. Funded by the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, the program is a collaboration between the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County, Blue Ridge Biofuels, and Green Opportunities. A new website,, provides the public with information on the program as well as the location of cooking oil recycling bin locations. The first of 35 recycling bins are located at the Buncombe County Landfill and at the newly opened River District Recycling Center. Waste cooking oils are one of the major causes of costly sewer maintenance in Buncombe Co. These sewer overflows are a potential threat to the environment and take up valuable resources of the local public works budgets. The new program seeks to keep waste oils out of the sewers by diverting them to Blue Ridge Biofuels for processing into biodiesel. MSD was the first major purchaser of biodiesel in Buncombe Co. and has been using biodiesel in its fleet of 85 vehicles for more than seven years.

Renewable Energy Group Inc.’s board of directors recently announced its succession plan for transition of the company’s leadership positions. The board offered unanimous approval of Jeffrey Stroburg’s request to transition from the dual position of chairman and CEO to the sole role of chairman. Daniel J. Oh, currently president and chief operating officer, will transition to the role of CEO and president, and he will join the board. Chief Financial Officer Chad Stone and all other management remain with the company in their current roles. 

The Energy Cooperative, a Philadelphia-based, member-owned nonprofit, has launched an initiative to encourage the use of Bioheat. To kick off the Clean Heat initiative, the Energy Co-op is holding a Clean Heat video contest. Members of the group submitted videos of their experiences using Bioheat. The Energy Co-op will use these videos as a way to promote the use of the biodiesel-blended heating oil, as well as create more awareness of the renewable heating fuel. The contest was scheduled to conclude Oct. 20. The co-op heating oil program is largely residential and has been offering Bioheat blends of B2 to B20 to its members since 2006.

Alberta-based Blue Horizon Bio-Diesel Inc. entered into an exclusive license agreement with two undisclosed third parties to utilize a patent-pending technology to convert hydrocarbons and low-grade cellulosic materials into high-grade renewable diesel. As part of the licensing agreement, BH Bio-Diesel has agreed to pay a confidential license fee as well as a royalty per liter of each project’s net sales of renewable diesel fuel. The term of the exclusive license agreement will continue until the end of active use of the technology or the expiration of associated patents. The technology licensed to the company uses a low-temperature, low-pressure, catalytically driven process that’s capable of fractionating complex carbon molecules and polymers into shorter hydrocarbons. BH Bio-Diesel has secured a long-term lease on a facility located in Bruderheim, Alberta, where it will install a 750 liter-per-hour (198 gallon-per-hour) pilot unit to validate the technology. The technology licensed to BH Bio-Diesel is also capable of producing methyl ester biodiesel from canola oil, yellow grease and other fats and oil feedstocks.

Members of the Iowa Biodiesel Board elected Mark Cobb as chair of the nonprofit organization at its annual meeting Sept. 9. Cobb has 32 years of experience in the oil industry and is vice president of Iowa Renewable Energy, a biodiesel plant based in Washington, Iowa, which employs 23 people and has the capacity to produce 30 MMgy. He is also president of Cobb Oil, a petroleum distributor based in Brighton, Iowa. Cobb Oil was an early adopter of biodiesel, first offering the product in 2002 at the request of farmer customers. Cobb also serves on the board of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa, chairing that group’s alternative fuels committee. Cobb replaces Daniel J. Oh, president and chief operating officer of Ames-based biodiesel producer REG, who served as chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board for four years.

Milligan Bio-Tech Inc. has raised $8 million for a planned expansion of its 4 MMly (1 MMgy) production facility located in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada. The $8 million of newly-acquired capital effectively came in two forms; $4 million were issued through a private offering of convertible debentures and the remaining $4 million were obtained through a senior lending facility. The funds will be used initially as capital to increase production capacity five-fold to 20 MMly and to optimize a canola seed crushing facility that’s co-located on site to enable efficient crush  of nonfood-grade canola, which is the primary feedstock in use by Milligan. Upon completion, the expansion, expected to be complete by mid-November, will make Milligan Bio-Tech the largest biodiesel producer in Western Canada.

Evonik Industries AG held a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 15 for the construction of a new catalyst production plant in Puerto General San Martin, Argentina. Engineering and design of the facility is complete, and the plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2012 to supply ready-to-use alcoholates as catalysts for the production of biodiesel, adding that the facility will primarily serve Argentinean and Brazilian markets with an annual capacity of more than 60,000 metric tons. Evonik’s catalyst production plant will be part of a site where Terminal 6 S.A. operates a major biodiesel production facility. A global market leader for specialty catalysts for the production of biodiesel, Evonik started production of a catalyst facility in Mobile, Ala., with an annual capacity of 60,000 metric tons in 2009. The company said it built the plant primarily to serve the growing North American biodiesel market.

Seattle-based biodiesel producer Imperium Renewables and the U.S. DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have reported positive results in a joint development for the production of biomass-based, drop-in jet fuel in the Pacific Northwest. So far, according to Imperium, the novel process has produced a meaningful amount of fuel, which is currently being evaluated to determine if it can feasibly be blended into commercial amounts of traditional, petroleum-based jet fuel. The method being employed involves a catalytic process under development by PNNL, which converts biomass-based alcohols into renewable drop-in jet fuels. Imperium entered into the project in July 2010 through a collaborative research agreement with Battelle, a nonprofit research organization that manages PNNL for the DOE. The work by Imperium and PNNL is being further developed, led by Roselle, Ill.-based LanzaTech, as part of a recent award from the DOE towards a new biofuel research project. In addition to Imperium, PNNL and LanzaTech, other participants in the consortium include Boeing, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Orochem Technologies and the Port of Seattle.

Greensboro, N.C.-based Patriot BioDiesel LLC is expanding its operations in response to increased local demand for biodiesel. Once complete, the upgraded facility will have an annual production capacity of between 2.5 million and 4 million gallons. The expansion is scheduled to be complete by mid-October. Patriot BioDiesel temporarily suspended biodiesel production in early 2010, following the expiration of the biodiesel tax credit. During that time, the company collected and refined waste oil, which was sold to other biodiesel plants. However, as RIN values increased in mid-2010, the plant restarted operations. Patriot BioDiesel purchased the new equipment from Tactical Fabrication LLC. Before the tax credit expired, another company had placed an order with Tactical Fabrication for a biodiesel system. While that company did put a down payment on the equipment, it did not complete the purchase. Rather than installing a new boiler to go with the new production equipment, Patriot BioDiesel elected to go with a unique heating system featuring ceramic elements manufactured by Innovative Heat Concepts.

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