Bankrupt NM ethanol plant site to become biodiesel blend terminal

By Ron Kotrba | November 14, 2016

Houston-based Natural Chem Group LLC has acquired bankrupt Abengoa Bioenergy’s ethanol plant in Portales, New Mexico, where the company is developing a biodiesel blend terminal.

The mothballed ethanol plant, built in the Portales Industrial Park in 1984 and idled in 2012, was acquired by NCG through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis in a competitive bid process.

Robert J. Salazar, president and CEO of NGC, told Biodiesel Magazine the company will target blending 1 million gallons of biodiesel per month to produce B5, B10 and B20 for sale to regional fleets and trucking operations, particularly those serving the dairy and mining industries.

NCG noted that New Mexico has a B5 mandate on the books, which has been waived for several years due to a lack of biodiesel blending locations. “NCG’s Portales blending facility will be able to help implement that target,” stated NCG.

Regional oil refiners will supply the diesel fuel and regional biodiesel producers will initially supply the biodiesel, which will be “tailored for excellent performance with low Cold Soak Filtration numbers,” Salazar said. The blending site, called the Eco-Fuels Portales biodiesel blend terminal, is one of 15 the company anticipates building in the U.S. over the next 10 years. Priority states targeted for the blending terminal build-out include New Mexico, Idaho, Texas, California and Indiana.

While the NCG will procure biodiesel for blending in Portales from regional producers, eventually the company anticipates supplying biodiesel from its own facility just 20 miles north in Clovis, New Mexico.

NCG proposes to build what it refers to as the Southwest Eco-Fuels Complex, a 90 MMgy biodiesel plant and glycerin refinery, in the same city where Renewable Energy Group Inc. has been developing a 15 MMgy biodiesel project for several years.

“Development on the Clovis plant is expected by the third quarter of 2017,” Salazar said. “When operational, the Clovis plant will supply biodiesel for seven Eco-Fuels blend terminals modeled after the Portales Eco-Fuels terminal. The Clovis plant will use distillers corn oil (DCO) as its second-generation feedstock. Natural Chem is the original developer of the DCO recovery process as a coproduct of ethanol production.”

Financing for acquisition of the Portales facility was provided by Southwest Capital Bank and Natural Chem Holdings LLC. Legal assistance in the asset purchase was provided by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s offices in Albuquerque and Denver. 


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