Modular production technology up close

Biodiesel Industries offers small-scale 'Mini MPU,' commercial 'MPU 3.0
By Tom Bryan | January 28, 2004
Santa Barbara-based Biodiesel Industries, a five-year-old company founded by Russell Teall, has developed a complete line of modular biodiesel production equipment that is today being used around the world. In fact, Biodiesel Industries production units collectively represent the world's largest producer of biodiesel-or any fuel for that matter-made from used cooking oil otherwise known as yellow grease.

After a half-decade of development, the first commercial unit was built three years ago in Las Vegas. That unit now supplies biodiesel to over 3,000 government vehicles, including 1,200 buses belonging to the Clark County School District.

Moreover, the Nevada Energy office recently opened a biodiesel fueling station that is supplied by Biodiesel Industries.

The company's modular design emphasizes efficiency and quality control. The modular production units, or MPUs, also allow for easy and inexpensive expansion.

Teall told Biodiesel Magazine that the modular units are designed for relatively quick deployment-to take advantage of new market opportunities. The commercial MPU's are designed to fit into a standard 8-foot by 8-foot by 40-foot ISO (International Standards Organization) container, facilitating shipment anywhere in the world.

At the other end of the scale, the company offers a 'Mini MPU,' like the one recently dedicated at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme, Calif. The unit is small enough to be towed by a pickup truck and can produce up to 100,000 gallons of biodiesel per year.

All units-both the small and large modules-are made from high-grade stainless steel with electrical components designed for flammable liquids. The company makes full engineering drawings and environmental assessments available to assist future producers with permitting.

By design, MPUs are capable of processing multiple feedstocks, including recycled cooking oils, animal fats and virgin vegetable oils. This flexibility allows processors to use locally available and inexpensive raw materials to make biodiesel at a reasonable cost.

There is exclusivity in purchasing MPUs: Biodiesel Industries sells and licenses the units into exclusive territories to qualified affiliates interested in becoming part of a mutually supportive network of biodiesel producers worldwide. Support for production, marketing and operations is part of the package.
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