Business Briefs

By Ron Kotrba | January 17, 2013

Propel Fuels has closed on the initial phase of its Series D round of funding with $11 million in equity capital from existing investors Nth Power, Craton Equity Partners and @Ventures, as well as a new investor, Gentry Venture Partners. In addition, the company has secured $10 million in debt financing from CapX Partners. With the new funding, Propel will be able to accelerate the build out of its network of stations that offer drivers the cleanest, most sustainable, domestically produced fuels on the market today. Propel operates a growing network of stations that provide renewable fuels (E85, biodiesel blends) alongside the conventional gasoline that most drivers use today. Propel enables drivers to offset carbon from their fuel purchases, improve their vehicles’ fuel economy, find rideshare opportunities, tune bicycles, and recycle on the go. Propel is the only fueling company in the country to bring drivers the opportunity to offset their emissions at the pump through the company’s unique CarbonOffset program. As part of the investment by Gentry, Thomas B. Raterman, a partner, has joined Propel’s board of directors. Raterman has more than 30 years of corporate finance, investment banking and executive management with rapidly growing entrepreneurial companies. Propel currently operates stations throughout California and Washington state with more than 200 stations planned for new and existing markets over the next two years.



Methes Energies International Ltd., a renewable energy company that offers an array of products and services to biodiesel fuel producers, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Methes Energies Canada Inc., has received the New Producer of the Year award from the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association. Recently commissioned, Methes Energies’ new Sombra, Ontario, facility has a capacity of 50 MMly (13 MMgy). The facility operates with Methes’ own technology, the Denami 3000, which can produce biodiesel from a wide variety of feedstock. Methes markets and sells biodiesel fuel produced at its showcase production facility in Mississauga, Ontario, and at its recently commissioned 13 MMgy facility in Sombra, to customers in the U.S. and Canada, as well as providing multiple biodiesel fuel solutions to its clientele. Its services include selling commodities to its network of biodiesel producers, selling their biodiesel production and providing clients with proprietary software to operate and control their processors. Methes also remotely monitors the quality and characteristics of its clients’ production, upgrades and repairs their processors and advises clients on adjusting their processes to use varying feedstock to improve the quality of their biodiesel.



Chico, Calif.-based Springboard Biodiesel announced that its trademarked small-scale biodiesel processor, BioPro EX, has met the Green Restaurant Association’s rigorous endorsement standards for alternative fuel refueling stations. By using the BioPro EX, restaurants can make biodiesel that meets ASTM specifications for 95 cents a gallon, according to Springboard Biodiesel. In addition to saving costs on fuel, restaurants that use the GRA-endorsed BioPro EX can stay ahead of legislation and significantly reduce CO2 and particulate emissions. Restaurants will earn 2.5 GreenPoints towards becoming a Certified Green Restaurant based on the GRA’s certification standards in the environmental category of eliminating waste. The BioPro EX equipment is made entirely in the U.S.


Minden, Nev.-based Bently Biofuels, a 1 MMgy biodiesel producer and fuel distributor, among other things, recently closed its retail C-store, the Bently Biofuels Outpost on Buckeye Road in Minden to prepare for a new direction the company will take in 2013: wholesale biodiesel sales to its northern Nevada and California outlets. The Outpost in Minden, however, will still sell fuel—E10 (regular gasoline), E85, B5, B20 and B50 in the winter months and B99 in summer months. Clients will be able to use credit or debit cards to pay at the pump 24/7. In the new year, the company will focus on wholesale biodiesel sales to its six retail outlets: Bently Biofuels Outpost in Minden; Allied Washoe in Reno, Nev.; Sacramento Biodiesel Network in Sacramento, Calif.; The Biofuel Oasis in Berkley, Calif.; and Dogpatch Biofuels and People’s Fuel Cooperative, both in San Francisco. Bently Biofuels is also offering delivery of B20 home heating oil. Off-road red dye B20 and B50 will continue to be available, the company said. In other company news, Donald E. Bently passed away in October and his son Christopher Bently has taken the helm of the Bently family of companies. Christopher has led the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designs certification of several buildings in the company’s portfolio, and he looks forward to increasing involvement in the Minden, area this year. Bently Biofuels has been producing biodiesel from seed and recycled cooking oil since 2005.



Renewable Energy Group Inc. has expanded its terminal locations to serve the largest population center in the U.S., the New York City metropolitan area, with REG-9000-branded biodiesel and Bioheat. The firm, already the nation’s largest biodiesel producer with more than 225 MMgy of operational production capacity, now has biodiesel positions at four New York metropolitan terminal locations. Biodiesel distribution points in Whippany, N.J., and New York locations in New Hyde Park, Port Chester and near Brookhaven are slated to offer quick access for blending biodiesel to augment heating oil and diesel supplies. The news came just weeks after REG acquired two 15 MMgy biodiesel plants in New Boston, Texas (North Texas Bio Energy), and in Georgia outside of Atlanta (Bulldog Biodiesel). Biodiesel is available today at the New Hyde Park facility and is being marketed by biodiesel veterans Michael Cooper and Daniel Falcone, formerly with Ultra Green Energy Services, who recently joined Renewable Energy Group’s team. Cooper and Falcone are now REG’s biodiesel sales managers for the Northeast.

 

Promethean Biofuels, a community-scale biodiesel producer in Temecula, Calif., stood with giants such as Sony and BP Arco at the recent Environmental Excellence Awards Summit in San Diego. The awards were given by the Industrial Environmental Association and co-sponsored by the California Manufacturers & Technology Association and the Chemical Industry Council of California. To qualify for an award, companies must be able to show a program with a measurable benefit to date, and an anticipated future benefit. Promethean won its award under the category Recycling and Waste Reduction. Todd Hill, founder and managing principal of Promethean Biofuels, received the award. Using research as well as design and build concepts, Promethean Biofuels has been able to fabricate more than 90 percent of the equipment in its production facility with repurposed materials. Promethean production volumes are on track to recycle more than 1 million pounds of liquid waste product before the end of this year. “Our goal is to become a world-class fluid waste recycler,” Hill said, adding that Promethean Biofuels has positioned itself to be a supporter of and participant in a zero-waste environment by creating unique and innovative ways to solve liquid waste disposal problems for the customer. Promethean takes industrial waste off the hands of its customers, primarily food processors, and develops practical, solution-oriented products—whether it is biodiesel fuel, biomass products for agriculture, or specialty chemicals.


Bourne’s Energy recently opened the first local biofuel blending plant in the central Vermont area. Bourne’s Energy was awarded a $45,000 grant through the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund to support the development of an injection blending operation for biodiesel, allowing it to supply B5, B10, B20 and B99.9 blends of fuel on demand. “This is a great new opportunity for Vermonters to experience the ‘biodiesel difference’ with a high-quality biofuel blend, made locally from recycled cooking oils and mixed in this state-of-the art facility,” said Netaka White, Bioenergy Program Director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. Peter Bourne recognizes the demand for green living is growing in the Green Mountain state, and Bourne’s Energy's Biofuel Blending plant will be able to supply the community with alternative heating and fuel solutions without compromising the food chain or creating other environmental issues. “The production of Bourne’s biofuel is an interesting journey,” said Bourne. “[Biofuel] begins at local eateries as used cooking grease, which is picked up and recycled by a partner company, White Mountain Biodiesel. Bourne’s collects the future fuel and brings it to the biofuel blending plant where it’s converted/blended into Bioheat or biodiesel.” Bourne’s Energy celebrates its 65th anniversary of being a local, family-owned heating fuel and equipment business and has five local offices throughout North and Central Vermont.


Genuine Bio-Fuel Inc., headquartered in Indiantown, Fla., is expanding its operations to the northeastern Caribbean region with the development of new subsidiary, Caribbean Bio-Fuel Inc. The new company will be based in Puerto Rico and will service Caribbean and South American markets. These emerging markets will be able to capitalize on GBF’s proprietary technology, which allows it to reduce the biodiesel production time from hours to mere seconds—without creating any hazardous byproducts in the process. Executive Vice President Jeff Longo noted the Caribbean Bio-Fuel plant would have the capacity to produce about 12 MMgy. The 35,000-square-foot facility is slated to open in March employing 12 to 18 people at launch. The raw materials and multifeedstocks will come from Puerto Rico and surrounding islands.

 

EcoEngineers is partnering with Degart Global, a provider of BQ-9000 consulting services, to integrate its popular RIN Quality Assurance Program with BQ-9000 requirements. EcoEngineers’ RIN Quality Assurance Program will be seamlessly integrated into the current practices and procedures of an existing BQ-9000 facility. Plants in EcoEngineers’ RIN management platform that do not have BQ-9000 status can easily transition into BQ-9000 via a transition program that is being put in place. The transition program will evaluate current operations and recommend best practices to obtain BQ-9000 status. Process controls related to sampling and testing and equipment calibration are common in both the RIN QA and BQ-9000 programs and are examples of how synergies can be realized by combining the two programs. Foreign producers of biodiesel currently cannot obtain BQ-9000 status, but they have the ability to have the benefits without the formal BQ-9000 status. For plants interested in pursuing such a goal, EcoEngineers can now offer not only a solution that will implement quality procedures at the plant but also a monitoring program that will provide the needed RIN QA and verification to downstream RIN generators.

 

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