Biodiesel Industries breaks ground

By Ron Kotrba | June 21, 2007
Biodiesel Industries Inc. (BDI) recently started dirt work at its sixth biodiesel production plant, positioned in the heart of Detroit. DaimlerChrysler spokesman Max Gates said BDI's 10 MMgy project is different than most because of BDI's collaboration with DaimlerChrysler and NextEnergy, a nonprofit research and development corporation also based in Detroit.

Gates said NextEnergy is charged with scientifically, technologically and economically developing Michigan's future fuels. "They're doing collaborative work with Biodiesel Industries, which was chosen mainly because it is a small, innovative, research-oriented company," he told Biodiesel Magazine. BDI's facility, scheduled to start production this fall, will be six blocks from NextEnergy and will supply biodiesel to NextEnergy for research.

DaimlerChrysler's role will be to manage a site in Rose Township, Mich., where agriculture research will be conducted by Michigan State University (MSU). "The site is a field in a rural area of Michigan that was used 40 years ago as a chemical dumping ground," Gates said. On-site crop research will explore energy-specific uses for oilseeds and cellulosics since crops for human consumption aren't allowed to be grown there yet. Soybeans, sunflowers and canola are the primary subjects of research. "[Eventually,] the oilseeds being tested there will be fed into Biodiesel Industries' plant in Detroit to refine into biodiesel," Gates said. MSU harvested approximately two acres of soybeans there last fall and is currently studying the results. According to Katie Zuchowski with Chrysler Group's public relations, DaimlerChrysler is committed to at least two more years of related research there.
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