Business Briefs: Companies, Organizations & People in the News

By | June 09, 2009
›BioProcessAlgae LLC and Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc. received a $2.1 million research and development grant from the Iowa Office of Energy Independence to build an algae pilot project at Green Plains' Shenandoah, Iowa, ethanol plant. Water, heat and carbon dioxide will be recycled from the ethanol manufacturing process to support algae production. The modular photobioreactor is expected to capture about 60 percent of the carbon dioxide fed into the system. Initial plans are to use the algae as animal feed.

›Algae developer OriginOil Inc. has partnered with Belgium-based Desmet Ballestra to create a cost effective algae oil extraction system. OriginOil CEO and President Riggs Eckelberry announced the partnership at the National Algae Association's quarterly meeting. OriginOil is making progress in reducing the cost of harvesting algae and extracting the oil in its rapid, one-step process utilizing its ultrasound-based Quantum Fracturing along with pH modification and electromagnetism. In another announcement, OriginOil appointed Scott Fraser vice president of operations. Prior to joining OriginOil, Fraser had led startup clean technology firm Global Cooling Solutions from concept to prototype and full product development within 16 months.

›The Sustainable Energy Farm at Destiny, Fla., has plots of jatropha, camelina and other new biomass crops planted for studies on future renewable energy and alternative fuel sources. Billed as the nation's first eco sustainable city, Destiny, Fla, was chosen as one of 16 founding projects of the Climate Positive Development Program, a project of the Clinton Climate Initiative that wants to demonstrate that cities can grow in ways that reduce carbon emissions to zero. Destiny will be developed in Osceola County, central Florida, integrating passive and active energy design to achieve a 50 percent reduction in energy use. On-site clean renewable energy sources are expected to provide at least half of the remaining energy demands. Anthony Pugliese, president and CEO of the Pugliese Co., is the founder of the Destiny project.

› Los Angeles-based Rentech Inc. has announced plans to build a synthetic fuels and electric power plant in Rialto, Calif. The Rialto Renewable Energy Center is designed to produce approximately 600 barrels per day of renewable synthetic fuels including its trademarked RenDiesel product. The plant also plans to export as much as 35 megawatts of renewable electric power in order to benefit from incentives provided by California's Renewable Portfolio Standard Program. Rentech is currently negotiating supply agreements for the proposed feedstock, urban woody green waste.

›Law firm Fredrikson & Byron brought two energy attorneys on board in May, as part of the expansion of its Energy Group. Todd Guerrero, an experienced energy attorney and new officer with the firm, comes to Fredrikson & Byron from Lindquist & Vennum PLLP. Alan Mitchell joins the firm as its new Senior Of Counsel. Fredrikson & Byron is a 240 attorney law firm based in Minneapolis.

›Oxford, Miss.-based Encore Energy Systems announced the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding with Hardin Fuels Inc., Kountz, Texas. The agreement calls for joint business development maneuvers to assist Hardin to secure funding for expansion. The companies will combine various resources as part of the strategy. This MOU is part of the Encore's continuing business development and growth strategy in the biofuels and alternative energy marketplace. The company said that it "is positioning itself as a premier brand in alternative fuel and energy conservation" and reported intentions to "aggressively acquire biodiesel production assets."

› Alkane Inc. launched its first commercial product this spring. Monster Diesel is a fuel additive designed to significantly increase power and miles per gallon, "while eliminating engine knock and decreasing engine wear and harmful emissions." Lutherville, Md.,- based Alkane described Monster Diesel as a concentrated, portable fuel additive that will reduce fuel consumption by 15 percent, raise the cetane level of diesel by 12.5 percent, lower overall emissions by as much as 23 percent and provide a winterizing component that increases cold flow operability.

› Renewable Energy Group Inc. signed a marketing agreement to sell biodiesel from Iowa's newest producing plant, Maple River Energy LLC, a 5 MMgy multi-feedstock facility in Galva, Iowa. According to the marketing agreement, Maple River Energy biodiesel is expected to meet REG-9000 quality specifications, which exceed ASTM D 6751. REG stated that it will market B100 or B99 from the facility under its REG-9000 product line, and the company will include the Galva site as a terminal on its pricing list.

World Energy Alternatives LLC finalized the sale of its Lakeland, Fla., biodiesel plant this spring to Orlando, Fla.-based Clean Fuel Lakeland LLC. World Energy president and CEO Gene Gebolys said the sale was an important step in repositioning itself "to adjust to the changing U.S. biofuels landscape." In related company news, an article published in May reported that World Energy was "hauled" into bankruptcy court by Elbow River Marketing, essentially claiming the company was "thrown into involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection." World Energy responded by issuing a release in which it admitted there is an ongoing legal dispute but characterized the news report as "erroneous."

› After posting losses of €3.98 ($5.54) per share in late March, Petrotec AG of Borken Germany, announced plans to lay off 20 employees as part of a restructuring program meant to ensure the company's survival. Also, the waste grease-to-biodiesel producer accepted the resignation of board spokesman Roger Böing and appointed management board member Boaz Zafrir as CEO of the company. Because of harsh market conditions, the company reported a 28 increase in sales while still experiencing losses.

› Schroeder Biofuels, a division of Schroeder Industries, Leetsdale, Pa., has launched its Cold Clear purification system. Every biodiesel producer and distributor must pass the ASTM Cold Soak Filtration Test after Oct.1, 2009, and the new filtration product could help biodiesel producers meet the specification. Schroeder Biofuels tested fuel samples from producers throughout the biodiesel industry and created its own methyl esters in order to study the crystallization process that precedes the gelling of biodiesel. Schroeder designed a system involving a single pass, three-stage bank of filters and absorbers that sequentially remove those compounds likely to cause filter plugging.

›Fluid Imaging Technologies Inc., Yarmouth, Maine, is offering a new particle testing service that is particularly effective in identifying algae species. Originally developed for ocean research, the FlowCam is essentially an automated microscope that can count and evaluate microorganisms and particles. The new service includes a free assessment of the instrument's capability to analyze the proposed product or sample. This is followed by the development of test specifications, running the sample and reporting the results.

Available on CD or posted privately on the Web, the results include every image taken, along with measurement data organized in a choice of histograms and scatterplots on a spreadsheet or detailed laboratory report.
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