IBI acquires Argentina plant

By Erin Voegele | August 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted Sept. 4, 2008 at 3:23 p.m. CST

Brazil-based Integrated Biodiesel Industries Ltd. announced Sept. 3 it has acquired a new biodiesel process unit that will become part of the company's second Argentina facility. Ground is scheduled to be broken on the plant by October.

The plant will occupy approximately 50 square meters (540 square feet) and have the capacity to produce 50,000 metric tons per year (15 MMgy). Located in Alvear Industrial Park south of Rosario, the country's main soybean processing area, the plant will be approximately three miles (five kilometers) from a Parana River export terminal. The new plant will replace one that was planned for the Port of Rosario facilities.

The new process unit uses a second-generation biodiesel production technology that has no reactors or moving parts. According to IBI Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Lopes, the technology is an in-line process where soybean oil and methanol are mixed under high shear along the plant's internal piping system. The piping system contains internal baffles and embedded solid catalyst. The excess methanol is removed by negative pressure before the glycerin is separated from the biodiesel. The product then goes through a decanter where biodiesel is separated from the top and sent to a dry-washing system containing silicas and resins for polishing. The technology was jointly developed by IBI and an undisclosed Brazilian supplier.

"This new process technology is a considerable breakthrough in biodiesel production, totally in line with IBI's commitment to fast growth through intelligent deployment of its capital expenditures to maximize shareholder value," Lopes said.

The new facility is expected to run on crude degummed soybean oil only, however, the new plant also features a dry biodiesel purification process that can operate with different vegetable or animal oil feedstocks.

With an estimated price tag of slightly more than $1 million, the facility costs a fraction of what a traditional plant would require and can be built in five months. Company officials say at current biodiesel prices, the plant will add $ 65 million per year in revenues to IBI.
IBI also announced Sept. 3 that it has received an investment of $ 300,000 for a Jau, Brazil, glycerin processing plant which was previously a chemical facility. IBI is upgrading the plant's equipment to process glycerin. The company said the plant will produce both distilled glycerin for cosmetics and paints and glycerin carbonate, a renewable solvent used in printing inks and cosmetics. Based on a production of 20,000 metric tons (635,000 gallons) per year, the glycerin plant is expected to generate revenues of $22 million in 2009.
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