BusinessBriefs: Companies, Organizations & People in the News

By | July 15, 2009
›PetroAlgae Inc. opened a Washington, D.C. office early this summer and announced the addition of nine senior international sales executives in June in the latest step towards commercialization of its micro-crop technology. The Melbourne, Fla.-based company licenses a modular technology that enables a near-continuous growing and harvesting of microorganisms. Three executives manning the new Washington office include Andrew Beck who joined the company as vice president of public affairs from a position at the U.S. DOE in public affairs. Michael Gale and George Lyons were appointed vice presidents of government affairs. Gale previously served as the president of Government Relations and International Trade Strategies and in government relations at Warnaco Inc. Lyons previously was a principle at the Gimga Group and vice president of District of Columbia affairs at Pepco Holdings Inc.

›Mission New Energy Ltd. began commissioning its second biodiesel refinery in mid-June alongside its first in Kuantan Port, Malaysia. The 250,000 metric ton per year plant (approximately 75 MMgy) is using a second generation, heterogeneous catalyst developed by technology provider Axens, a subsidiary of IFP Group Technologies. In other news, Mission announced Ir Lee Swee Eng has invested $12 million in the company. Eng is managing director of KNM Group, the Malaysian process equipment manufacturer that was the engineering-procurement-construction contractor for Mission's new plant.

›Cavitation Technologies Inc. completed tests of its chemical free Green D+Plus Degumming system for inexpensive refining of crude vegetable oils. Cavitation's system is based on its patented flow-through nano cavitation reactor that mixes crude vegetable oil and water while exposing the fluids to high-pressure impulses and micro explosions at the molecular level causing the gums to become denser, facilitating efficient separation and higher oil yields. By reducing energy and eliminating the acids and other steps in degumming, the process offers a low cost degumming option. Cavitation also recently inaugurated its first Bioforce 9000 nano biodiesel reactor skid system in a Moberly, Mo., biodiesel plant designed and built by SRS Engineering Corp.

›Transonic Combustion Inc. of Camarillo, Calif., received attention in June after it completed its third round of capital fund raising with the help of high profile clean tech investor, Khosla Ventures. The company has developed a fuel injection system that "is optimized on modern clean diesel engine architecture and can boost operating efficiencies to levels near 100 miles per gallon. "We have done some work with biodiesel," said Eric Sharp of Transonic. "Primarily this has been through lab testing to see how the fuel will interact with our technology."

›Eastman Chemical Co. of Kingsport, Tenn., introduced an improved version of its line of additives for biodiesel formulations under the trade name BioExtend 30 HP. The antioxidant maintains its easy-to-use characteristics but ensures that it will not do damage to engine components. The "no harm" certification was made by the Biodiesel Quality Management Association of Germany.

›PerkinElmer, a global science corporation focused on health and environmental issues, has expanded its solutions for the biofuels sector. Its EcoAnalytix portfolio provides laboratories that work with renewables "the instrumentation, consumables, software, applications and standard operating procedures" needed to meet future government mandates. Its portfolio now includes fatty acid methyl ester systems for determining fuel composition, oxidative stability and blend ratios.

›Cargill Inc., one of the world's biggest biodiesel producers and ag-giant with sales of $120 billion during its 2008 fiscal year, is suing Memphis Biofuels LLC for breach of contract to collect on a debt. The Memphis Daily News reported that Memphis Biofuels, which recently laid off 16 employees, owes Cargill $127,000 for deliveries of a grease product made for the startup company this year, according to a court complaint filed this month in Shelby County Chancery Court.

›Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory at the National University of Singapore announced in June that it had received a $5 million investment from Toyota Tsusho Corp., for the development of genetically modified jatropha seedlings as feedstock for biofuel. In addition, the Manilla Bulletin reported that TTC, a member of the Toyota Group of Companies, "is planning to expand its biodiesel investments in the Philippines "by developing large-scale alternative energy production complete with a jatropha plantation project and a refinery complex in the country to supply Toyota Motor automobiles and other Toyota Group companies."

›BioDiesel Reactor Technologies Inc. is seeking more than $4 million in private sector funding to add to the $8.3 million raised from federal and provincial sources to build a 4 million liter per year (1 MMgy) pilot plant in Ontario. BDR is commercializing a novel biodiesel reactor using membrane technology with low level catalysts developed at the University of Ottawa by chemical and biological engineers Marc Dube and Andre Tremblay. The flexible feedstock process eliminates pretreatment requirements and can be added to existing plant infrastructure. "The quality of biodiesel coming out is amazing," said Brian Radburn, chief financial officer.

›CFO Systems LLC, a firm offering Midwest companies executive financial leadership on a contract basis, announced a new addition, Edgar Hicks, to its team. Hicks will support renewable fuels and commodities clients in risk management. Previously Hicks worked at FCStone Group Inc., Cargill Inc., the Chicago Board of Trade, and was general manager of Farmers Co-op in Clarks, Neb., and a grain merchandiser with the Pillsbury Co.

›A member-investor open house was held for Producers Choice Soy Energy LLC, a 5 MMgy biodiesel plant finalizing construction this summer in Moberly, Mo. Process Concepts from Pevely, Mo., was general contractor. The $17.5-million facility is outfitted with a bean crusher and will process soy oil from locally grown beans, along with animal fats, into biodiesel. According to PCSE, the state will pay 30 cents per gallon on its first 15 MMgy produced during the first five years of production, as part of the state agriculture department's producer incentive.

›Neste Oil Corp. has committed to exclusively using certified sustainable palm oil "when sufficient volumes become available," which it estimates will be possible by the end of 2014. The Finnish oil company that has developed a refinery-scale renewable diesel process it calls NExBTL says it received its first cargo of 5,000 tons of certified palm oil in June, and expects to use 50,000 tons this year. Neste is currently doubling the capacity of its first NExBTL plant in Finland to 340,000 metric tons per year, has a plant in Singapore that began construction earlier this year and broke ground mid-year in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
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