Louisiana biodiesel project heads toward full production

By | July 01, 2006
A company interested in both ethanol and biodiesel plants has completed its first project. Vanguard Synfuels LLC, a 15 MMgy biodiesel plant in Pollock, La., began production in mid-April, according to Darrell Dubrock, president and chief executive officer.

At press time, the facility was producing about 20,000 gallons per day, with a target of 40,000 gallons per day. A former anhydrous ammonia plant was retrofitted for the biodiesel facility, according to Tim Collins, chief financial officer. The plant was designed with the help of Process Technology Associates, an engineering firm in Florida.
Vanguard Synfuels is made up of 24 member investors, including Dubrock and Collins. Many of the investors are in the forestry and logging business. In the beginning, that connection led the group to focus on ethanol production. "The original intent was to produce ethanol from gasification of wood chips," Dubrock said.

The group researched the commercial viability of producing ethanol from gasification of wood chips for about a year and a half, and even operated pilot plants in Denver Colo., and Aberdeen, Miss. Ultimately, the shift to biodiesel production was made until cellulosic ethanol technologies matured. "We decided that it wasn't quite commercially viable yet," Dubrock said.

The company is looking at the possibility of building a 100 MMgy biodiesel plant elsewhere in Louisiana. At press time, they weren't ready to give specifics, Dubrock said.
There are also plans for an eventual expansion of the Pollock facility. The plant is well situated for transportation, with a Union Pacific rail spur on-site. Barge transportation agreements were being worked on for nearby ports, Dubrock said.
 
 
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