Biodiesel research facility to explore racing fuels

By Bryan Sims | August 03, 2007
Northington Energy LLC has begun construction of its new 3 MMgy "ultra-refined biodiesel" research and development facility near Wartburg, Tenn., adjacent to the company's 6 MMgy biodiesel plant currently under construction. The new $3 million research facility will be situated on six acres in the Flat Fork Business Park, and it will be the first facility in the United States to focus entirely on renewable racing fuels and related engine testing. It is expected to open in early 2008.

Once complete, the research facility will enable Northington Energy to expand its manufacturing operations to include highly refined biodiesel for use in the racing industry. It will be occupied by the Cheyenne, Wyo.-based company's research and development arm NorthingtonSport, and will house leading-edge renewable fuel processing systems, as well as engine management and dynamometer testing cells. This newest division of Northington Energy will work closely with automotive and motorcycle racing engine manufacturers, such as Volkswagen and Suzuki, whose competition programs are increasing their use of renewable biofuels.

"We are excited about the new facility and the positive impact it will have on the industry," said Lisa Horn, new business development manager for Northington Energy. "It will help the community produce new, quality fuels that are good for the environment, farmers and consumers. We think the biodiesel business we're in, the jobs that this industry will create and our environmentally friendly plant will be an asset to the county and the entire region, and will help promote Flat Fork Business Park."

Northington Energy will be collaborating with the Tennessee Technology Center in Harriman, Tenn., to obtain the highly skilled personnel required to test and develop the company's next generation of competition biofuels. Northington Energy's forthcoming racing fuels-Research 3 Biodiesel and Research 3 Ethanol-will be distributed by select racing fuel suppliers across the country.

In East Tennessee, there are more than 70 private and government fleets using biodiesel blends, according to the East Tennessee Economic Development Agency (ETEDA). The Northington Energy biodiesel plant in Morgan County will help support those efforts and others that will capitalize on the benefits of biodiesel.

"This is a great start for the park," Morgan County Executive Becky Ruppe said. "Northington Energy's decision shows that biofuels production can succeed and that a smaller, more community-based focus on green industry is possible."
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