Business Briefs

By | May 19, 2010
Miller Boat Line is greening up its ferry service to Put-in-Bay, Ohio, this season by using a 10 to 20 percent biodiesel blend in one of its passenger vessels, the William Market. Put-in-Bay is located on South Bass Island in southwestern Lake Erie. The fuel, G2 Diesel, is produced locally in Ohio and is made from reacting soybean oil and ethanol-not fossil-derived methanol as most biodiesel processes use. Scott Market, vice president of Miller Boat Line, said the company has become the only environmentally friendly option for tourists. Using biodiesel costs the company more than traditional diesel but Miller Boat Line said it will keep ferry service fares the same. Miller Boat Line stated it has plans to eventually use G2 Diesel blends in all four of its vessels.

On 13 acres of long-vacant land in the Chicago Stockyards Industrial Corridor, Testa Produce Inc.'s new headquarters, expected to be the first U.S. food distribution facility to achieve LEED Platinum certification, is under construction. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a system used to rate the sustainability of construction projects governed by the U.S. Green Building Council. At $20 million, the facility's sustainable features include a wind turbine and solar panels to generate half of the facility's power, a partially vegetated roof to prevent storm-water runoff and an external retention pond, among many others. Testa Produce's fleet of 55 diesel delivery trucks is also running on B11.

Little Rock, Ark.-based biodiesel consulting group Lee Enterprises announced the addition of Lisa Screeton of Hilton Head, S.C., to lead the Grants and Government Relations division of the firm. "The combination of the economy and partisan politics has made for a difficult couple of years," owner Wayne Lee said. "But it does appear that the industry is now headed up in a big way." Lee said he recently read that once oil hits $125 a barrel, one-half of the world's wealth would be held by the OPEC nations. "Once we realize what this means, we will realize the urgency of the situation," he said. Screeton gives the firm a national balance, Lee said, with consultants on both the East and West coasts and in the central U.S. He noted that the firm's fluency in multiple languages also is of vital importance in dealing with international customers.

Biodiesel of Las Vegas Inc. launched its official Web site,, on Earth Day. The company established an online presence, in particular, to enlist public participation in its clean air campaign. The interactive site was designed to keep consumers educated, informed and updated on the latest advancements in biofuel. The site has also made it easy for individuals to contribute to the green fuel movement by offering free eNewsletter subscriptions, support packages and a direct method of contacting Congress. The company anticipates it will act as a platform for alternative energy-related topics via the integrated discussion forum.

Sandmeyer Steel Co. announced that John P. McCreery has assumed the position of inside sales representative at its Philadelphia headquarters, replacing Loretta Wysocki who recently retired after 46 years with the company. McCreery joined Sandmeyer Steel in 1977 and since then he has held several different positions in the company.

Germany's biodiesel quality organization AGQM has attacked several biodiesel patents recently. These patent rights have been withdrawn after objections were filed and hearings conducted, even before the European Patent Court. The issue: the lack of an inventive step. Results could have been achieved by any expert trained in this field without any inventory input, or could have already been common knowledge among experts in one case. It is counterproductive if attempts are made to include facts into patent applications' scope of protection that are neither new nor contain an inventive step. Thus, AGQM will regularly conduct patent monitoring in biodiesel-related fields. With its systematic patent research, AGQM does not only intend to identify potentially objectionable patents as early as possible in order to be in a position to take suitable (counter-) measures, it also wants to follow up on the latest developments so that the potentials inherent in biodiesel and in the other biofuels can be better exploited.

Dover Corp.'s Pump Solutions Group promoted Walter Bonnett to vice president of PSG Marketing, a position from which he will report directly to PSG President Dean Douglas. Bonnett will lead PSG's Marketing Group, with the pivotal task of managing PSG's "Business Face to the Outside World." Bonnett's major functions and focus as leader of the Marketing Group will be to spearhead and support strategic sales and marketing activities, and implement programs that will aid PSG's image in the market. Among the key image-building components are market intelligence, brand promotion, E-business, Web strategies, marketing services, community relations and voice-of-the-customer interaction.

WIKA Instrument Corp. recently signed an agreement with privately held 3D Instruments LLC, after its acquisition by WIKA Holding Corp. to become metro Atlanta-based WIKA's newest subsidiary, reporting to Michael Gerster, WIKA president. Acquisition of the Anaheim, Calif.-based 3D Instruments, an engineering innovator and manufacturer of the Direct Drive technology, extends WIKA's domestic manufacturing capabilities and expands the company's West Coast presence. WIKA will maintain 3D Instruments' distributor network, as well as begin integrating its multi-channel strategy. WIKA is working closely with 3D's operational management team and the conversion to lean manufacturing at the 3D Instruments facility has begun. Employees of 3D Instruments will remain working in the Anaheim location.

LS9 Inc. announced that its trademarked UltraClean Diesel fuel has been officially registered with the U.S. EPA, now making it eligible for commercial sale in the U.S. Wei Huang, vice president of process and engineering for LS9, said the company's technology is a one-step conversion process that can ferment C5 and C6 sugars to biodiesel, renewable diesel or any number of fuels and chemicals using so-called designer microbes and fatty acid biosynthesis. The chain length and saturation of the finished product can be controlled, depending on the enzymes used in the cells, Huang said, adding that the technology has "the highest yields, simplest process and lowest cost" of any out there today. LS9 bought an existing facility in Okeechobee, Fla., for its demonstration plant and anticipates breaking ground on a commercial-scale refinery in 2011.

French pump maker Mouvex announced the launch of its new SLP Series Seal-less Sliding Vane Pumps. Designed with no magnets, mechanical seals or packing, Mouvex said the SLP Series pumps are one of the most economical and energy-efficient pumps for applications that demand leak-free operation. The initial model available in the new SLP Series is the SLP25, which features a maximum flow rate of 110 gallons per minute (25 m3/h), differential pressures to 12 bar (174 psi), and the capability to handle viscosities up to 60,000 centistokes (or 278,000 Saybolt Universal Seconds) and can operate in temperatures up to 100 degrees Centigrade. 
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