Dec. 09 BDM Business Briefs

By | November 20, 2009
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., won the 2009 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, California's highest and most prestigious environmental honor. The resort saves about 200,000 gallons of petroleum diesel per year in biodiesel used in the Disneyland Railroad's five steam boilers. The resort has been using soy-based biodiesel to fuel the steam engine boilers since April 2007. In January 2009 the resort began using biodiesel produced from its recycled cooking oil.

Renewable Energy Group Inc.
recently purchased the 60 MMgy Nova Biofuels Seneca LLC biodiesel plant in Seneca, Ill., according to an 8-K filing submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC filing reads: "Pursuant to the Seneca Asset Purchase Agreement, the Seneca Purchaser (REG) agreed to acquire substantially all of the Seneca Sellers' assets, excluding certain specified assets, used in manufacturing ASTM D6751 quality biodiesel and related coproducts out of its production facilities in Seneca, Ill., including all patents and intellectual property rights to Nova's process technology, and to assume bank term debt of approximately $36.25 million." At press time, REG had no comment on the purchase.

Growth Design Corp. is planning to build a biodiesel plant in Forest City, Iowa, in which it intends to install two Mcgyan reactors, a newer conversion technology utilizing a permanent metal oxide catalyst in a cylindrical vessel measuring 6 inches in diameter by 6 feet long. The unique reactor and catalyst convert both triglycerides and free fatty acids into biodiesel in a single step. Growth Design applied for a USDA grant for assistance in funding the project, and anticipates breaking ground in late fall.

Innovation Fuels Inc. was recently recognized at the annual Syracuse, N.Y., Economic Champions award ceremony. Innovation moved its corporate headquarters from Albany, N.Y., to the Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse this summer. "We moved to Syracuse largely because it is in the hub of our upstream activities," CEO John Fox said. The company is supplying biodiesel locally, and working with researchers and extension agents at Cornell University along with several farmers throughout Upstate New York on the development of pennycress and camelina as new biodiesel feedstocks. Innovation Fuels operates a 40 MMgy multi-feedstock plant in the New York Harbor at Newark, N.J., and has terminal facilities in Milwaukee, Wis.

The Soley Biotechnology Institute is offering samples of algae oil on its Web site, and offering microalgae oil for sale for $0.418 per liter. The company described the source as heterotrophic microalgae grown in a pyramid photobioreactor. The fatty acid profile offered on the Web site indicates the oil is 51 percent palmitic, 39 percent oleic, 7 percent linoleic and 2 percent stearic. The Turkey-based Soley Institute has been working on microalgae since 2000. Among its projects has been algae production for nutritional supplements in partnership with the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition. The Soley institute initiated a grant program in 2009 for algae research in developing countries.

Yellow Diesel BV announced its novel catalyst and integrated process design has successfully produced high quality biodiesel, and is now transitioning to pilot scale. A spin-off company of the University of Amsterdam's holding company, Yellow Diesel has developed a continuous fixed-bed process technology based on heterogeneous catalysis that produces biodiesel exceeding European specifications plus a cosmetic/food grade glycerol with minimal waste streams. The new multi-feedstock process saves up to 30 percent in operating costs of conventional systems and up to 40 percent on capital costs for new plants.

Renewable Energy Group Inc., Ames, Iowa, has named Robert Dascal, previously of New Energy Fuels in Waller, Texas, as its new southern regional sales manager. His role includes developing partnerships with major refiners, distributors and regional jobbers as they prepare for implementation of the renewable fuels standard and other state blend requirements for biodiesel, REG said.

Often a let-down follows a record year, and that's true for America's two big agribusinesses, both with biodiesel plants in their portfolios. Cargill Inc. reported net earnings of $525 million in the fiscal 2010 first quarter ending Aug. 31, down 65 percent from the record $1.49 billion in the same period a year ago. For Archer Daniels Midland Co., net income fell to $496 million, or 77 cents per diluted share, compared to $1.05 billion, or $1.62 per diluted share, in the in the same quarter a year ago.

Florida-based PetroAlgae Inc. is collaborating with India's largest company to develop algae strains and technology to suit Indian conditions. PetroAlgae's subsidiary PA LLC recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Indian Oil Company Ltd. to build a pilot plant meant to demonstrate the commercial viability of the company's technology. "A commercial production facility with a capacity of 200,000 tons per year of biodiesel is proposed in the near future," IOCL said. The process will also produce a high-value protein for animal feed.

GreenHunter Energy Inc.
, Grapevine, Texas, has appointed Jonathan Hoopes as president and chief operating officer. Hoopes served in various capital markets, investment banking, and equity research roles at Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and UBS in London, Hong Kong and New York. Most recently, Hoopes served as managing director at Think Equity LLC where he led two teams of research analysts in the alternative energy and technology sectors.

Dow Chemical Co. affirmed its commitment to the biodiesel industry in remarks by biodiesel sales manager Donna Rohan at the fall European Biofuels Expo and Conference. When it acquired rival Rohm and Haas earlier this year for $15 billion, Dow Chemical brought several biodiesel products under its roof. Amberlyst is a B20 solid catalyst esterification technology that offers biodiesel producers the flexibility to produce biodiesel from inexpensive low-quality feedstocks without sacrificing the quality of the end product, along with partner products Ambersep and Amberlite. The biodiesel products are sold under a differentiated business unit, Dow Water and Process Solutions, which offers a broad portfolio of ion exchange resins, reverse osmosis membranes, ultra filtration membranes and electro deionization products.

The Air Force Academy is investigating algae as part of its Net Zero 2015 energy program. The Environmental Research Center in Colorado partnered with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and signed a cooperative research and development agreement with Cool Clean Technologies Inc. to develop processes for producing biofuels from algae oil. The ERC is also in talks with Brooklyn University's Juergen Polle to identify additional algae strains.
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