Business Briefs

By | July 13, 2010
Alaska Green Waste Solutions began production in its new Anchorage biodiesel plant in June and celebrated with a grand opening. The plant has a capacity of 1,000 gallons per day and provides a solution for disposing of waste cooking oil and producing clean biodiesel. Constructed in Salem, Ore., by Pacific Biodiesel Technologies and JVNW, the plant was disassembled for shipment and reassembled in Anchorage. Built in six shipping containers, the facility includes storage for feedstock, biodiesel and glycerin, utilities and the biodiesel production system. Pacific Biodiesel Technologies was contracted to design and build the plant for Alaska Green Waste Solutions, which plans to use most of the biodiesel for its fleet of refuse collection trucks operated by its sister company, Alaska Waste. With the largest refuse fleet in the state, using biodiesel is an important part of Alaska Waste's commitment to recycling and sustainability.

BlackGold Biofuels and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission are commissioning the 100,000 gallon per year biodiesel demo plant bought by the city from BlackGold Biofuels to alleviate problems associated with too much sewer grease in the city's water treatment systems. The SFPUC estimates that grease blockages in San Francisco sewers account for 50 percent of all sewer emergencies and annually costs the city $3.5 million in cleanings. In 2008, the city received a $1 million grant from the California Energy Commission for the project. The SFPUC also announced it received a $175,000 grant from the U.S. EPA to produce a how-to manual for other cities to follow San Francisco's lead. The facility will make two grades of fuel, ASTM D6751-grade biodiesel and a biobased bunker fuel, equivalent to a No.6 fuel oil.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved a contract for Sime Darby, Malaysia's leading multinational conglomerate, to provide approximately 1 million gallons of palm oil-derived biodiesel for use in Maui Electric Company's Biodiesel Demonstration Project at its Ma'alaea Power Plant. The demonstration will assess the use of biodiesel in place of petroleum-diesel in Maui Electric's diesel generating units and other diesel units around the state. Converting to biodiesel will be an important part of meeting Hawaii's renewable energy goal of 40 percent of electricity from renewable resources by 2030. Maui Electric has long used clean-burning biodiesel for start up and shut down of its diesel generators but the demonstration will test biodiesel for four months to determine its long-term effect on air emissions, heat rate, operations and maintenance costs and other factors.

The Austrian company BDI-BioDiesel International AG announced it has changed its name, dropping biodiesel for bioenergy, "in order to reflect the broader strategic focus of the company on the 'waste-to biofuels' field," BDI-BioEnergy International stated in a July 1 release. Starting as specialists in biodiesel plant manufacturing and process technology in 1996, the company has continued to update its biodiesel product portfolio with such technologies as the RetroFit program, an optimization package; RepCat, a biodiesel process for converting very high free fatty acid feedstock; and others. This year BDI started to supply biogas technology, so-called ENBAFERM Multi-Feedstock BioGas, to industrial users. Also this year BDI came out with BioCrack technology to enable refineries to include up to 20 percent biomass content in fuel during the refining process itself, by making use of crude oil refining byproducts.

SG Biofuels, an agricultural biotechnology company specializing in jatropha development, recently announced the appointments of Eric Mathur as vice president of molecular agronomics and scientific affairs. Mathur, a 30-year industry veteran, will direct an expansion of SG Biofuels' research operations in San Diego and globally, and will drive commercialization of jatropha. The company also appointed Jeff "J.D." Davids as CFO. Davids, who has more than 20 years of leadership roles in accounting, finance, operations, strategic planning and business development, will be responsible for all elements of accounting and financing for the company.

American Biodiesel Inc., doing business as Community Fuels, stated it received notice of a proposed grant award through the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program of the California Energy Commission. The project, "Expanding Access to Renewable Fuels - Port of Stockton Terminal," encompasses the design and construction of a biodiesel fuel terminal on a parcel of land adjacent to the existing Community Fuels biodiesel production facility at the Port of Stockton, Calif. The terminal will include equipment for fuel storage, final product purification, tanker truck loading, rail car loading and unloading, red dye injection and an automated fuel delivery system.

White Mountain Biodiesel LLC, in Haverhill, N.H., is starting production after being under construction for more than a year and a half. The plant is sized at 5.5 MMgy, and is using waste greases as feedstock. The process technology was designed in-house by plant engineer and plant manager Bruce Lamarre. It features feedstock pretreatment for dewatering and solids removal, and an acid esterification unit to convert the free fatty acids to biodiesel. White Mountain Biodiesel also implements methanol recovery and a dry wash system. The plant's fuel passed all ASTM tests required, and the company is finalizing registration with the IRS and U.S. EPA.

Repsol has signed a framework agreement with Neuron BPh for the development of projects of joint interest in the area of industrial biotechnology. Neuron, developer of registered technology platform MicroBioTools, works on the development of bioprocesses for the food, chemical, pharmaceutical and energy industries. The development of bioprocesses by Neuron Bioindustrial include the isolation and selection of microorganisms, optimization and scaling studies in bioreactors, and technical and economic feasibility studies in industrial plants. Among the developments achieved by Neuron's technology platform stresses MicroBiOil, a novel technology for the production of second-generation biodiesel from crude glycerin; and TriBioPlast, a technology for the production of bioplastics. Repsol is an integrated international oil and gas company, operating in more than 25 countries and is a leader in Spain and Argentina. It is one of the 10 largest private oil companies in the world and the largest private energy company in Latin America in terms of assets.

Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc. announced that it has entered into an agreement to form a joint venture with Wilmar International Ltd., one of the largest global agribusiness groups, to construct a world-scale biorefinery. The joint venture will use Elevance's proprietary biorefinery technology to produce high-value performance chemicals, advanced biofuels and oleochemicals. Large existing and rapidly emerging new demand exists for these products in surfactants, antimicrobials, lubricants, renewable biodiesel and green jet fuels. This commercial-scale manufacturing facility will begin with a capacity of 180,000 metric tons (approximately 400 million pounds) with the ability to expand up to 360,000 metric tons of products. The facility will be located within Wilmar's new integrated manufacturing complex under construction in Surabaya, Indonesia. It is expected to come online in 2011, and will be capable of using multiple renewable oil feedstocks. The biorefinery will produce green olefins, including a unique distribution of alpha and internal olefins for chemicals and advanced fuels; novel multifunctional esters and acids, including 9-decenoic acid, as well as a premium mixture of oleochemicals and advanced biofuels.

In June, Virent Energy Systems Inc. closed a $46.4 million third round of funding in which Royal Dutch Shell plc and Cargill Inc. deepened their commitment to Virent's technology platform, the BioForming process, which converts plant sugars into sustainable advanced fuels for car, truck, train, and air transportation. This new round of funding will advance Virent's efforts to scale its patented catalytic biorefinery platform to commercial production volumes. The investment agreement also expands an existing research and development collaboration with Shell for the production of biogasoline to include diesel fuel. With its new equity stake, Shell will also have a seat on Virent's board. Shell says it is the world's largest distributor of biofuels.
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