Biodiesel Technologies to participate in plant constructions in China

By Jessica Ebert | August 03, 2007
Biodiesel Technologies Inc., which officially changed its name to Orbitek Inc. at the end of July, is in the process of negotiating with a Japanese firm to supply biodiesel production units in southern China.

In that region of the country, the land is rocky, undernourished and unfit for agricultural use. However, the jatropha plant can thrive under these conditions and could be a high-yielding feedstock source for biodiesel production. Biodiesel Technologies' proprietary process technology, developed at Cornell University by company CEO Christian Fleisher in 2000 and commercialized in 2006, would be used alongside local crushing facilities. "We're really excited about this opportunity to go into underserved areas and create small energy islands," said Martha Hyde, a company spokeswoman.

Biodiesel Technologies' biodiesel production unit is skid-mounted, can produce 4 MMgy and can be shipped in a standard shipping container. Hyde said the company expects to ship its first unit overseas by the end of 2007, and the first plant is expected to be on line in 2008. Fifty percent of the oil processed from the jatropha will be shipped to Japan for biodiesel production. The remainder will be converted into the biofuel on-site. Ultimately, the two companies want to build as many as 100 facilities in southern China, Hyde said.

In addition, Fleisher recently participated in a conference call with United Nations officials to discuss funding for a similar project in the Caribbean. In this case, the production facilities would be located near ports, bringing jobs to those areas and providing a fuel that cruise lines can utilize in an effort to become more eco-friendly. "They seemed impressed with how portable and flexible our technology is," Hyde said. "However, they seemed more interested in pursuing this type of project in Africa. We'll see what comes of it."
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