Rocky Mountain biodiesel plant moves forward

By Susanne Retka Schill | October 14, 2008
Web exclusive posted Nov. 5, 2008 at 12:05 p.m. CST

After three years in the waste vegetable oil recycling business, Rocky Mountain Sustainable Enterprises LLC is in the final planning stages to build a 4.5 MMgy biodiesel plant in Morgan County, Colo. In late October, the company received word its application for a $500,000 grant from the USDA Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program had been approved.

Aaron Perry, chief executive officer of Rocky Mountain Sustainable Enterprises, said the rest of the financing is in place, permitting is underway and final equipment and building arrangements are being negotiated.

Perry expects the project to break ground in the first quarter of 2009 and be in production in mid-2009. "The production unit we'll be using is a European designed, skid-mounted processor," he said. In using the European technology with waste feedstocks, Perry expects the company's biodiesel will be cost competitive with No. 2 diesel.

The company first developed a network of more than 2,000 food services and restaurants in Colorado and Wyoming, which will supply waste vegetable oil. "We're really excited about launching a membership dividend program in 2009," he added. Waste vegetable oil suppliers will receive payments based on a combination of oil quality, location and current market conditions.

Following on the heels of the biodiesel plant project, Rocky Mountain Sustainable Enterprises also plans to build a biodigester with key partners. The biodigester will use wastes from the recycled oil and biodiesel process, as well as other agricultural and food processing wastes from the region, to produce biogas for electrical generation and fertilizer.

The biodiesel plant is expected to be the first project to break ground on a planned renewable energy center in Fort Morgan, Colo. Two other projects are in development stages. High Plains Renewable Energy LLC hopes to build a 54 MMgy ethanol plant; custom cattle feeder, Teague Diversified Inc., is developing a methane digester to provide process heat for the ethanol plant utilizing feedlot waste.
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