Business Briefs

By | February 10, 2009
›The German-Austrian company PPM Energie Germany GmbH accepted the 2008 Biofuels Technology Award at the World Refining Association's Biofuels 2008 Third Annual Meeting on Oct. 30 in Berlin. The company, which commissioned Austria's first commercial-scale biodiesel plant in 1998, provides modular, turnkey plants that can be installed on-site and commissioned in weeks. "We are truly honored," PPM founder Paul Munzberg said. "We view this as further incentive to continue advancing the technology in search of even better results for our customers."

›Hawaiian Electric Co. and Khosla Ventures have agreed to collaborate on the evaluation and early deployment of green energy technologies by working with entrepreneurs and start-up companies. In addition to solar and electric vehicle initiatives, Hawaiian Electric plans to convert its existing oil-fired generator to biofuels power. It's also building a 100-megawatt turbine on Oahu that will use biodiesel. In 2009, the company will begin testing the renewable fuel in its generating units currently using low-sulfur fuel oil to see how much biodiesel can be used. Hawaiian Electric is also a partner in an algae production project and BlueEarth Biofuels LLC, a proposed 40 MMgy biodiesel processing plant on Maui.

›Renew Energy Resources Inc. is continuing development of a proposed 5 MMgy biodiesel plant under the new name Legacy Oil LLC, and the direction of Jim Blair and Mike LoCascio, both former employees of Renew Energy Resources. LoCascio said the company plans to lease space in the former Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is being converted into a green manufacturing industrial zone. Pacific Biodiesel Inc. will be Legacy Oil's technology provider. The Doe Fund remains a partner in the project. The New York City nonprofit began a waste vegetable oil collection service a year ago to employ the homeless.

›In December, New York-based GreenShift Corp. received a $38 million investment from its joint venture subsidiary CleanBioenergy Partners LLC to build 12 corn-oil-extraction facilities across the U.S. The funds will also be used to double production at NextDiesel LLC, GreenShift's 10 MMgy biodiesel plant in Adrian, Mich.

In January, GreenShift received a $375,000 grant from the Montana Board of Research and Commercialization. The money will be used to demonstrate algae production from an industrial source of carbon dioxide via GreenShift's patented bioreactor technology.

›Nova Biosource Fuels Inc. announced in late December that its 10 MMgy biodiesel plant in Clinton, Iowa, will come back on line in early 2009 after a Sept. 30 fire closed the plant.

The damaged equipment was repaired for less than $100,000. While the facility was idled for repairs, the company's 60 MMgy plant in Seneca, Ill., ramped up production. At press time, the Clinton plant was awaiting favorable market conditions before restarting, according to Kenneth Hern, chairman and chief executive officer of Nova Biosource Fuels. "We'll play it week by week," he said.

›Beacon Energy Holdings Inc. reduced its workforce by approximately 30 percent at its 12 MMgy animal-fats-based biodiesel plant in Cleburne, Texas, which began operation in 2006. The move was an effort to "reduce working capital expenses and to closely match production levels with current biodiesel sales demand," according to the company. It also temporarily slowed production at the facility as it evaluates its biodiesel inventory. "The duration of the scaleback will be determined by numerous factors, including anticipated future sales volume," the company stated.

›Minnesota-based turf and landscape maintenance equipment manufacturer Toro Co. announced that its Toro Dingo TX 525 wide track and TX 525 narrow track diesel compact utility loaders will be biodiesel-compatible for blends up to B20. The company previously announced its landscape contractor equipment, and golf course and sports fields grounds equipment would be biodiesel-compatible. Product Manager Greg Lawrence said Toro has been conducting extensive equipment tests using B100 and biodiesel blends over the past five years.

›PetroAlgae Inc. retained Investor Relations International to develop and lead its shareholder communications program. PetroAlgae anticipates raising awareness of its algae-based biodiesel technology through IRI's "proprietary investor relations model." IRI spokesman Haris Tajyar said the firm plans to broaden PetroAlgae's shareholder base through its proven strategy of "incorporating traditional best practices from the earlier days of investor relations with today's much more active, Internet-driven, information-hungry investor audience." He said this hybrid approach is essential for companies that go public via a reverse-merger because they will almost always lack the aftermarket support that a traditional brokerage firm typically brings as part of its role in an initial public offering.

›Pennsylvania-based Lake Erie Biofuels LLC announced the addition of Tim Keaveney as its vice president of sales. In this newly created position, he will be leading the development of the company's domestic and international biodiesel markets. He's also a member of the National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission, and has 18 years of sales and marketing experience in the transportation and heating fuels sector.

›Biodiesel producer Innovation Fuels Inc. in Albany, N.Y., has purchased a 310,000-barrel (43,000-metric-ton) terminal on 10 acres at the Port of Milwaukee in Wisconsin. The terminal includes a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, executive offices, a garage, and infrastructure for loading trucks and railcars. The terminal has access to Class I railroads and international shipping via the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System, and can receive Mississippi River barge cargo. The facility also has an idled connection to the West Shore Pipeline Co. pipeline, which could be used to bring petroleum to the terminal for blending.

›HydroGenetics Inc. completed the acquisition of Buffalo Biodiesel Inc., a 5 MMgy biodiesel plant in New York, making it a wholly owned subsidiary of HydroGenetics. Buffalo Biodiesel collects and renders yellow grease from areas in New York and Pennsylvania, and processes the feedstock into biodiesel. According to Marc Walther, HydroGenetics chief executive officer, future plans for the facility include expanding grease collection activities into additional states, and expanding the production of both yellow grease and biodiesel.

›Sapphire Energy, a San Diego-based company that uses a proprietary technology to convert algae to "green crude," appointed a new president
Dec. 22. Cynthia (C.J.) Warner, former group vice president of global refining at BP Amoco PLC, and an expert in refining, transportation and operations, took the helm Feb. 1. A chemical engineer by training, she spent 27 years as an oil industry executive. She will help Sapphire Energy to scale up its green crude technology, which the company says produces a fuel similar to light sweet crude.

›For the first time since the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002, a biodiesel producer will lead its board of directors. Denny Mauser of Western Iowa Energy LLC has become president of the IRFA, succeeding Bill Couser of Lincolnway Energy LLC. Mauser served as IRFA vice president in 2008.

Other elected board members were Nile Ramsbottom of Renewable Energy Group Inc. as vice president, Quad County Corn Processors' Mike Jerke as secretary and Walter Wendland of Golden Grain Energy LLC as treasurer. Bruce Rastetter of Hawkeye Renewables LLC and Jeremie Parr of Central Iowa Energy LLC will serve as executive committee officers.
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