Biodiesel touted at world's largest ethanol conference

By | August 01, 2005
Biodiesel was high on the agenda for many of the nearly 2,300 people in attendance at the 21st International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo held June 28 through July 1 in Kansas City, Mo.

Biodiesel 101, an introductory workshop featuring biodiesel production and use, covered several important areas of the biodiesel industry. Supply of the renewable fuel was a concern. West Central's Myron Danzer said there is currently a short supply of biodiesel on the market. National Biodiesel Board technical director and MARC-IV consultant Steve Howell said there is currently approximately 220 mmgy of installed capacity. He said approximately 240 mmgy of added capacity is expected within the next 12 to 18 months.

Howell said 1 billion gallons of biodiesel production would utilize approximately 25 percent of the United States' annual production of fats and oils. That number utilizes all excess capacity currently on the market. He added that a potential increase in the soaps market in China could increase the cost of animal fats.

BBI International's Brian Duff explained the basic process, operating costs and revenue of biodiesel production. He said the longer a vegetable oil is heated, the higher its free fatty acid content becomes.

David Belseth of Minneapolis-based Superior Process Technologies said there is approximately 8 percent to 14 percent free fatty acid content in residual corn oil from ethanol production. Superior Process is focusing on catalyst reduction, and the effective pretreatment and processing of all feedstocks, according to Belseth. He said they have been working at the Biomass Energy Conversion facility in Nevada,

Iowa, to work on a fully continuous process for both low and high free fatty acid feedstocks.
Integrated oilseed extraction and biodiesel plants are becoming a definite possibility, according to Larry Sullivan of Lawrence D. Sullivan and Co. Inc. He added the Chicago Board of Trade is likely to begin trading biodiesel futures in 2007-2008.

BI International Vice President of Project Finance Jeff Kistner stressed the importance of a comprehensive business plan before initiating a biodiesel project. Plants must have 40 percent to 60 percent equity in order to be successful, he said.
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