Seattle Biodiesel begins biodiesel production

By | March 01, 2005
Seattle Biodiesel LLC began testing its biodiesel production process in mid-February and plans to begin providing biodiesel to the Seattle, Wash., area soon, according to John Plaza, Seattle Biodiesel president and founder.

The plant is expected to initially produce 2 mmgy and ramp up to 5 mmgy within two years. Feedstock will consist of virgin oils from various sources, with an attempt to use canola and mustard from the local region as the main source.

The production unit is located within a large warehouse in the industrial area of Seattle. Plaza said the building has good access to freeway arteries and barge traffic. There is also a rail spur specific to the building.
Plaza said he had been looking at an alternative energy project for several years. Biodiesel made the most sense because it functions as a drop-in fuel.

Puyallup, Wash.-based Saybr Contractors began constructing the facility in March 2004. Saybr company partner Mickey McAloon said that tanks and several other items for the plant were salvaged from a defunct local brewery. "There were some issues with recycling used products into a different application," McAloon said. "We had to make sure the products and the tanks were compatible."
It was the company's first time building a biodiesel plant, McAloon said. Saybr has previously worked on petroleum stations and compressed natural gas operations.

The plant will also be using a process technology developed by Greenline Industries LLC, a joint venture between Bio-Energy Systems LLC and Seattle Biodiesel LLC. According to Plaza, the technology allows for high rates of production and a lower entry cost for a facility compared to existing processing technology. He also said that biodiesel meeting or exceeding ASTM standards could be produced from multiple feedstocks. Another benefit is the lack of re-introducing water into the biodiesel for the washing stage, Plaza said.

"It's efficient and has a small footprint," Plaza said. "It's a cost-effective manner to produce biodiesel. It provides the ability to produce in a small- to medium-sized facility."

Seattle Biodiesel is awaiting final permitting. "By establishing a biodiesel production facility here in the city, Seattle Biodiesel is well-placed to provide a steady and high-quality source [of biodiesel] for the region," Plaza said.
Los Angeles-based Baker Commodities Inc. is also considering the possibility of building a biodiesel facility in the Seattle area.
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