Business Briefs

By Ron Kotrba | October 27, 2017

Sapp Bros., owner of 17 travel plazas and more than 30 wholesale locations across the U.S., celebrated the opening of its new biodiesel blending terminal in Norfolk, Nebraska, Aug. 30. Fuel suppliers can load diesel at the nearby Norfolk NuStar Terminal and then load biodiesel to the desired blend level at the Sapp Bros. terminal just 2.5 miles away. Fuel suppliers will have 24/7 access and loading upon approval. The biodiesel available at the new terminal will be sourced from BQ-9000-certified biodiesel production facilities and made from soybean oil. The Nebraska Soybean Board and MEG Corp. helped Sapp Bros. develop the new blending terminal. Sapp Bros. first began offering biodiesel in 2004 in Peru, Illinois.

Cargill announced in September it would build a 60 MMgy biodiesel plant in Wichita, Kansas. The 42,000-square-foot facility is expected to cost $90 million and open in early 2019. Construction will begin in December. The new biodiesel plant will be located next to its oilseed processing plant and will replace an existing oil refinery currently managed by Cargill’s global edible oil business. The biodiesel plant will employ 35 fulltime workers. Cargill currently operates two large-scale biodiesel plants in Kansas City, Missouri, and Iowa Falls, Iowa. It produces ethanol and biodiesel in the U.S. and the EU, ethanol in Brazil, and biodiesel in Argentina.

Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) recently completed a major expansion project at its Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, biodiesel production facility—the nation’s first commercial-scale biodiesel plant, built in 1996. Production capacity at AGP’s Sergeant Bluff biodiesel refinery doubled from 30 to 60 MMgy. The plant expansion was first announced November 2015. The project, coupled with construction of AGP’s new on-site soybean oil refinery that supplies feedstock to the biodiesel plant, was completed this summer. AGP’s Sergeant Bluff complex in Iowa now features integrated soybean processing, soybean oil refining and large-scale biodiesel production. AGP’s total biodiesel production capacity is now 150 MMgy from three Midwestern biodiesel plants.

Biofuels marketer Targray announced the nationwide launch of its turnkey biodiesel solution for the convenience and fuel retailing segment. Created following a two-year pilot program and multiple rounds of customer consultations, Targray’s innovative 24/7 biodiesel solution for the convenience store segment provides a simplified approach to biofuel procurement that emulates purchasing standard diesel. It enables chains and independently owned c-stores and fuel retailers to achieve a positive return on investment from their very first biodiesel order. Typical savings range from 3 to 10 cents per gallon of diesel sold, depending on regional market conditions and federal and state program eligibility.

A letter of intent (LOI) was signed in August between North Dakota Soybean Processors LLC and the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. to advance development of a $287 million soybean crush and biodiesel refinery in Spiritwood, North Dakota. NDSP has selected a site on approximately 80 acres in the Spiritwood Energy Industrial Park. According to Minnesota Soybean Processors (MnSP)—the majority investor in and managing member of the NDSP project—the LOI facilitates transfer of land from JSDC to the Spiritwood Energy Park Association LLC and infrastructure improvements such as additional rail capacity. NDSP has completed a feasibility study and a preliminary frontend engineering and design study for the project that is expected to crush 125,000 bushels of soybeans per day to produce soybean meal, RBD soybean oil and 30 MMgy of biodiesel.

The California Air Resources Board announced it has certified a biodiesel additive that will make B20 blends in California the cleanest proven and tested diesel fuel with the lowest emissions profile available anywhere in the U.S. The additive, branded Vesta 1000, takes already clean-burning biodiesel and ensures it reduces every measurable regulated emission, including NOx, when blended with California’s unique diesel formulation called CARB diesel. The National Biodiesel Board led the initial research and development into the additive to maintain biodiesel’s competitive advantage under the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The CARB-certified additive ensures compliance with the Jan. 1, 2018, implementation of the state’s Alternative Diesel Fuel Regulation. California Fueling LLC will produce the formula and Pacific Fuel Resource LLC will deliver the product to market.

Renewable Energy Group Inc. completed upgrades at its Emden, Germany, biodiesel plant this summer. REG invested 2.5 million euros for the installation of a new biodiesel distillation column and a thermal oil heater. REG acquired full ownership of the Emden plant in January after its initial majority investment in the former Petrotec AG in December 2014. Emden is one of the company’s two German biodiesel processing facilities, along with 13 biomass-based diesel refineries across the U.S. that have a combined nameplate production capacity of 1.7 million metric tons (502 million gallons) annually.

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