Business Briefs

By | February 23, 2010
Flambeau River Biofuels executed a letter of intent to engineer, procure and construct (EPC) the largest green diesel plant in the U.S. at its pulp and paper mill in Park Falls, Wis. The $250 million project, funded in part with a U.S. DOE grant, is expected to be operating by 2013. The team of AMEC and Miron Construction Co. Inc. was chosen as EPC contractor. The plant will use ThermoChem Recovery International process technology to convert 1,000 dry tons per day of woody biomass into green electrical power, steam and heat to its adjacent paper operations, and green diesel fuel and wax to the domestic market.

Catilin Inc. announced a three-year, $5.3 million project as part of a $44 million U.S. DOE award made to Catilin's consortium, National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts. Catilin and its partner, Iowa State University-Center for Catalysis, will provide key extraction, sequestration and conversion technologies. Catilin and ISU-CCAT will use mesoporous nanoparticles to selectively extract and sequester targeted fuel-relevant and high-value compounds within algal lipid mixtures. The balance of the algal oil, which contains free fatty acids and triglycerides, will be converted to biodiesel using Catilin's commercially available T300 catalyst. The pilot-scale work will be completed at Catilin's currently operating 300,000 gallon per year pilot plant.

Tri-State Biodiesel
recently formed a partnership with Upper Green Side, the local environmental organization of New York City's Upper East Side. Their shared mission is to inform landlords and co-op boards that switching to biodiesel will result in significant local air quality improvements. A recent health department report identified the Upper East Side as home to some of NYC's worst air. Tri-State CEO Brent Baker said, "The community air survey cited the area's boilers and hot water heaters as principal sources of pollution." The campaign was to formally launch in February.

The explosion last month at Imperium Renewables Inc.'s 100 MMgy biodiesel plant, Imperium Grays Harbor in Washington State, was caused by an over-supply of sulfuric acid in the glycerin neutralization tank, which led to an unexpected exothermic reaction that ruptured the equipment, the company stated. "Typically, sulfuric acid is mixed with glycerin to neutralize the pH level. When mixed at the recommended ratio, the chemical reaction does not pose a safety threat." Replacement equipment was installed, and more "stringent safeguards" and new employee training and safety programs were implemented.

Cenergy Power Systems Technologies
has an exclusive agreement to market Germany-based 2G Bio-Energy Technology Corp.'s combined heat and power (CHP) and biodiesel refining systems in the Americas. "The joint venture with Cenergy will launch the entire 2G product line including biogas, landfill gas, sewage gas, and natural gas cogeneration modules," Cenergy said. 2G's biodiesel CHP cogeneration plants, with the registered name PLA-TEC, are specifically designed and made for straight vegetable and plant oil use, so the units take in the same feedstock to make the biodiesel as it does to generate power for the process.

Glycos Biotechnologies Inc.
, an emerging biochemical company using sustainable feedstocks such as glycerin coproduct from biodiesel production, announced the appointment of Rich Cilento as CEO. A venture advisor for DFJ Mercury and currently executive chairman for GlycosBio, Cilento will now be responsible for the daily operations of the company. Cilento has more than 20 years of leadership and technical experience in the petroleum, alternative energy, information technology and biotechnology industries.

Hawaiian Electric Co. signed a contract with a subsidiary of Renewable Energy Group Inc. to supply 3 million to 7 million gallons of biodiesel per year for two years, which will fuel Hawaiian Electric's new 110-megawatt combustion turbine generator unit at Campbell Industrial Park Generating Station. REG won an earlier bid to supply biodiesel for emissions testing and subsequently emerged as winning bidder out of eight companies. REG will supply biodiesel made from yellow grease and animal fats. Delivery will begin after approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission with input from the state consumer advocacy group.

As Switzerland's Biopetrol AG nears completion of its 400,000 ton per year biodiesel facility at the Port of Rotterdam, a large commodities trader, Glencore AG, purchased a controlling interest in Biopetrol through a 50 percent plus one share stock transaction. Headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, Glencore sources raw materials for the oil and gas, mineral and metal, and agricultural processing industries. Biopetrol has two production plants already on line in Schwarzheide and Rostock, Switzerland, with a combined annual production capacity of 350,000 tons (about 105 MMgy). Glencore investing in Biopetrol signals that confidence is growing in the European biodiesel market.

Massachusetts-based Bodega Algae LLC and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, have received a six-month, $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and test a prototype for growing high concentrations of algae for biofuel. The grant is titled Light Delivery Enhancement of Photobioreactors and will be used to develop advanced photobioreactors. A key goal is to identify best methods and design for capturing and sending light to algae in larger volumes under varying conditions to grow algae.

The International Organization for Standardization, ISO, will develop a global standard to address sustainability issues linked to bioenergy, which will be produced by a new ISO project committee, ISO/PC 248. The committee will bring together international expertise and state-of-the-art best practice to discuss the social, economic and environmental aspects of the production, supply chain, and use of bioenergy, and identify criteria that could prevent it from being environmentally destructive or socially aggressive. ISO/PC 248 will hold its first meeting in April 2010.

Promethean Biofuels Cooperative Corp., a new 1.5 MMgy biodiesel plant in Temecula, Calif., came on line in January. It employs batch production with continuation purification, and is designed as a chemical blending and off-spec product rework facility. Promethean Biofuels also uses alternating high temperature/high pressure, and a deep vacuum process. As a cooperative, it also undertakes design-build projects for other producers. A grand opening ceremony was planned for Feb. 19.

Simply Green Biofuels and M.L. Halle Oil Service Inc. have partnered to bring Bioheat to Manchester, N.H. Halle started delivering Simply Green's B5 blend late last year, becoming the biofuel company's first exclusive New Hampshire partner. Halle celebrated its Grand Green Opening on Jan. 13, attended by 25 local dignitaries, fellow business owners and members of both the National Biodiesel Board and state oilheat council. Simply Green's biodiesel is made from waste vegetable oil and blends are available from 5 percent up. No system modifications are needed to run up to a B20 blend. 
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