Desert Development

Biodiesel production begins in Arizona
By Erin Voegele | March 09, 2011

The Phoenix metro area is now home to a new biodiesel plant. Pure Earth Energy Resources LLC recently launched Rev Biofuels, a 10 MMgy biodiesel plant located in Gilbert, Ariz.

The new facility began operations in December. According to Rev Biofuels President Dan Rees, the plant features four semi-continuous flow production lines that can process a wide variety of feedstocks. “We built four small production lines, which enables us to use any type of feedstock we want, because there is a stopping point in each step of the process,” Rees says. “We’re not bound by what equipment was tuned to do. We can adjust our process to whatever kind of feedstock is [running] in that particular line.”

To date, Rees says his company has secured access to waste cooking oil for use as feedstock, but is also investigating other feedstock sources. “Waste oil is what we are starting with, but we don’t think we can satisfy 10 million gallons on just waste oil, which is why we will need to look at other sources,” he says.

Although the company has investigated the use of cottonseed oil as a feedstock for the facility, it is not moving forward with procurement plans because there is currently no approved pathway for the feedstock under RFS2. “It’s not a viable product because it won’t qualify for RINs (renewable identification numbers),” Rees says.

The extensive process required to approve a new pathway takes a great deal of time, Rees says. “It’s not something that is going to happen anytime soon,” he adds, noting that Rev Biofuels has yet to determine if it will petition the U.S. EPA for a cottonseed oil pathway.

In the near-term, Rees says biodiesel produced at the new facility will likely be used to meet local demand. “It was really our goals and our mission when we opened the new plant to satisfy the local need, and I think there is enough demand locally to where we’re not going to have any trouble moving all of our biodiesel as quick as we can make it,” he says. Rees also notes that his company has plans to increase the capacity of the plant in the future, at which time it might make sense to sell into regional and national markets.

—Erin Voegele

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