List of BQ-9000 accredited producers grows to seven

By | July 01, 2006
SoyMor Biodiesel LLC, a 30 MMgy biodiesel plant in Glenville, Minn., earned BQ-9000 accredited producer status in May through the National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission. BQ-9000 is a voluntary quality assurance program for biodiesel producers and marketers.

The actual accreditation doesn't mean as much as what it says about SoyMor's dedication to quality, according to Tim Sullivan, quality systems manager for West Central. "SoyMor employees are committed to using [BQ-9000] to improve their results, and that's where value comes from having the accreditation," he said. Renewable Energy Group, a partnership between West Central and Todd & Sargent, is providing management and other services for the plant.

Sullivan complimented all SoyMor employees for their hard work during the development and implementation of the program. He added that he was confident it would work to continually improve both the biodiesel produced there and the daily operations at the plant. West Central is itself an accredited producer.

There are three reasons the program is important, Sullivan said. First, the BQ-9000 program is a quality management system that helps improve operational efficiency. It also provides assurance that the facility is consistently producing a product that meets ASTM D6751 specification for biodiesel.

Finally, the program has marketing advantages. "We believe that the customer market would prefer to buy biodiesel from a BQ-9000 verified facility," he said.
Being a BQ-9000 accredited producer makes the facility stand out among other producers as a plant that is making quality, superior product, said Paul Mattson, SoyMor operations manager. It is the first biodiesel plant in Minnesota to achieve accreditation and the seventh plant to be accredited overall.

It took about five months for the company to go through the accreditation process, which included creating a quality manual, according to Chad Miller, SoyMor operations supervisor. Typically, it takes about a year to complete, but SoyMor wanted to get it done quickly.

In April, Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) became the sixth BQ-9000 accredited producer, according to John Campbell, senior vice president. The company's Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, plant produces 20 MMgy, but is currently in the midst of an expansion project that will ramp up production to 30 MMgy. It has been producing biodiesel since 1996.
AGP's accreditation was spurred by customer requests. "It's becoming more of a marketing requirement," Campbell said. In fact, some customers have asked for more stringent fuel quality standards. "We think [BQ-9000] is kind of a minimum standard," Campbell said. "For our purposes, we are going to provide more and better." The company recently developed a Gold Standard program, which Campbell said is more strict than the BQ-9000 program. "That is going to more clearly define for customers what our internal standards are," Campbell said.

The first five companies to became BQ-9000 accredited producers, in chronological order, are: West Central, Ralston, Iowa; Peter Cremer North America, Cincinnati, Ohio; Johann Haltermann Ltd., Houston, Texas; Imperial Western Products Inc., Indigo, Calif.; and Eastman Chemical Company, Arkansas operations, Batesville, Ark. For more information about the program, visit www.bq-9000.org.
 
 
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