Rothsay begins full-scale biodiesel plant construction

By | April 01, 2005
Ron Wardrop of Rothsay, the largest rendering company in Canada, spoke at the Manitoba Biodiesel Conference on Feb. 28, where he announced Rothsay's construction of a 35 million-liter-per-year (9 mmgy) biodiesel refinery in Montreal. Construction on Rothsay Biodiesel began in January with operations expected to begin as early as July, Wardrop said.

Rothsay has operated a small-scale 4 million-liter-per-year (1 mmgy) biodiesel pilot plant in Montreal for the last three years. "Biodiesel chemistry is extremely well-known," Wardrop said. During this time, the company has "refined current knowledge" into its own functional model. The plant's construction is taking place on the same site where the pilot plant exists in an industrial sector of Montreal. The site was home to an old rendering site, but after rendering operations ceased, Rothsay began using the spot as a depot. Wardrop said the facility will be the first full-scale biodiesel plant for the Canadian rendering giant with a second plant to follow in either Manitoba or possibly Ontario.
Rothsay will use 100 percent animal fats and yellow grease as feedstock for the separation of the methyl esters in a batch system, the size and flow technology of which came from the company's own experience with its pilot plant. Wardrop divulged that Rothsay renders enough animal fractions to establish four or five full-scale biodiesel plants, although this would cut into the supply for its current non-fuel product stream.

The total cost of the project is $14 million, including the pilot plant and existing infrastructure. Approximately 20 people will operate and administer production at the facility.

According to Wardrop, Rothsay has arranged preliminary agreements with a few small distributors to manage the marketing and distribution of its biodiesel, but he could give no further details at press time.

Wardrop said that, with the pilot plant, the company was "dipping its toe in the water." Already a major player in the North American rendering industry, Wardrop said Rothsay's progression into biodiesel production is an opportunity for the company to take advantage of a "value-added process to existing raw materials."
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