First ARIES biodiesel system delivered

By | March 23, 2010

Posted April 9, 2010

The first ARIES (Automated Real-time, Remote, Integrated Energy System) biodiesel production system has been delivered to Naval Base Ventura County. ARIES is the result of a collaborative effort by the U.S. Navy, Biodiesel Industries and Aerojet to produce biodiesel using local resources.

The new system is a highly automated, transportable biodiesel production unit that can be controlled remotely. These features ensure reliable process control and optimal production yields in a sustainable system that can be readily and widely deployed.

Russell Teall, president and founder of Biodiesel Industries, said, "Creating truly sustainable systems requires a thorough understanding of every aspect of biodiesel production, from feedstocks to finished products. The integrated energy system incorporated into ARIES will eventually allow us to generate our own heat and power, and feed the surplus into a local micro-grid. These energy islands will support the local community with renewable and sustainable fuel, electricity and heat."

A key issue with biofuel production has been the ability to access inexpensive feedstocks that do not compete with agricultural land use or the production of food. The ability to use locally available nonfood feedstocks for biodiesel requires a flexible production process, technical expertise and control not easily associated with small-scale facilities. However, with ARIES, one data and process control center has the ability to remotely operate hundreds of scalable facilities integrated with next-generation feedstock cultivation, producing billions of gallons of biodiesel per year.

"Biodiesel Industries' years of advanced work with jatropha, algae and other sustainable feedstocks are critically important to the ARIES platform," said JJ Rothgery, Biodiesel Industries' board chair. "Our proprietary methods of feedstock development make ARIES an ideal solution for creating a globally distributed network of biodiesel production facilities."

ARIES incorporates Aerojet's systems control technologies to provide real-time sensing and management of key chemistry and processing parameters. These technologies, coupled with Biodiesel Industries' extensive production database, allow automation of the entire process, resulting in enhanced yields, reliable quality control and personnel safety assurance. Remote sensing also enables monitoring and operation from a single data and process control center for biodiesel production facilities in numerous locations around the world. The capacity range of the Modular Production Unit (MPU) is 3 MMgy to 10 MMgy. The company has also designed and built a ruggedized 100,000 Mini-MPU for military use.

"Aerojet's decades of automated systems expertise brings multiple benefits to Biodiesel Industries' advanced biofuel processes," said Scott Seymour, president of Aerojet. "The delivery of this first biodiesel production unit to the U.S. Navy heralds the first in what we hope are a series of successful demonstrations of our ability to deliver efficient and sustainable energy production for military and civilian use."

"ARIES is ready now to be deployed on a global basis," said Michael Cassady, Biodiesel Industries' executive vice president and chief operating officer. "The ARIES platform fundamentally transforms biodiesel production and makes this possible."

Click here to read a Biodiesel Magazine featured article on the ARIES system and the collaboration between the U.S. Navy and Biodiesel Industries.
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