Business Briefs

By Staff | March 09, 2011

Regina, Saskatchewan-based Clean Power Concepts Inc. signed a letter of intent to acquire the assets of Alabama Bio Energy LLC and its subsidiary, Eagle BioDiesel Inc., which owns and operates a 36.5 MMgy multifeedstock biodiesel facility in Bridgeport, Ala. The transaction was expected to close March 15. The acquisition brings Clean Power Concepts’ combined annual production capacity to just under 42 MMgy. CPC’s subsidiary, General Bio Energy Inc., owns and operates a 20 MMly (5.3 MMgy) canola-based facility in Regina. Once CPC becomes the sole owner of the Bridgeport facility, CPC CEO Michael Shenher says that the company plans to bring it to its maximum nameplate production capacity by leveraging existing process technology with plans to potentially install its own proprietary equipment in the future.

The newest Karl Fischer Oven from Metrohm makes analyzing for water content easier than ever—from low ppm to 100 percent. Featuring the latest in headspace KF technology, Metrohm says the system is becoming a lab favorite because of its added flexibility and user-friendliness. The 885 Compact Oven Sample Changer works in tandem with both coulometric and volumetric titrators. A simple keypad controls the process, just input the number of samples, oven temperature and gas flow. The unit is small and easily fits on a crowded lab bench, the company says. After samples are weighed, up to 18 hermetically sealed vials can be placed on the sample changer rack and a push of a button begins the series. Samples, standards and quality control check samples can all be placed on the rack.
Chromalox introduced a new Skin-Effect Heating System designed for long-distance pipelines up to 15 miles in length. Because it uses a single power supply, the system provides a cost-effective alternative for freeze protection, temperature maintenance and heat-up, particularly in remote areas where installation and maintenance are more complex and expensive. Typical applications include tank farms and storage terminals as well as long-distance piping between processing facilities in oil and gas, refining, chemical and biofuels industries. The system includes a small steel tube, containing a skin-effect electric cable that is banded onto the pipe. The cable and tube transfer conductive heating directly to the wall of the process pipe. Supply connections are made in special boxes, eliminating the need for additional heating equipment.

After months of negotiations, Enervation Advisors’ Paul Tantillo and William Dollard have come to an agreement to purchase the Algona, Iowa, biodiesel plant from the bank for an undisclosed amount. The 60 MMgy plant, completed in 2007, never became operational and requires a significant amount of work to conform to the Enervation plan for the property, according to the company. Enervation is now reviewing the existing permits and licenses, while the engineering team works to produce a more definitive plan to bring the plant up to the desired specifications. Enervation also intends to add additional components to the facility to create added revenue. “While the plant as it stands cannot produce positive cash flows, we have a strategic plan for the Algona location that enables the facility to thrive and to fulfill its promise to the community for the jobs so sorely needed in the area,” Tantillo says.

Algae.Tec Ltd. has been accepted to list on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FWB), resulting in a dual listing with the Australian Securities Exchange. According to Algae.Tec Executive Chairman Roger Stroud, the listing on the FWB gives the company access to the most significant sustainable energy market in the world. The company is currently working to complete a demonstration facility in Australia, which is expected to begin operations during the first quarter of 2012. When compared to the FWB, the ASX is a relatively small stock exchange, Stroud says. Algae.Tec has been working to develop its algae cultivation technology for seven years. While the company did evaluate the use of open pond systems, Stroud says the amount of area required and the lack of control in terms of growth was determined to be prohibitively challenging. Instead, the company developed a closed photobioreactor system that is housed in a 40-foot shipping container featuring a light collection system.

Spraying solutions company Lechler Inc., which offers nozzles, spray headers and custom header fabrication for self-cleaning showers, air atomizing headers, air curtain headers, and a variety of spray bars, is now offering tank cleaning lances. Lechler can also custom-build tank cleaning nozzles attached to meet specific industrial needs. Lechler offers solutions, whether the lance is more of a standard fixed length or a retractable one that has an adjustable length and also protects the tank cleaning nozzle more from the process fluid.

 This month, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie introduced a two-year oilseed crop research program—the Biodiesel Crop Demonstration Project—as part of the state’s effort to promote energy security and sustainable local agricultural technologies on the islands. The BDC is a collaborative effort between Pacific Biodiesel Inc., the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center and Army Installation Management Command, Pacific. The project’s first priority is to hire consultants and project managers to determine which locations are suitable to grow which oilseed crops for biodiesel production. Short-term crops such as sunflower or safflower are likely candidates to be planted. The project is expected to draw specialty harvesting equipment into the state, which is new to Hawaii.

Methes Energies Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Methes Energies International Ltd., announced it recently commissioned a continuous flow pretreatment processor to convert up to 20 percent free fatty acids (FFAs) in biodiesel feedstock down to less than 1 percent without the use of sulfuric acid, chemicals or resins, and will use enzymes instead. Once additional testing is completed, Methes may confirm that its nonchemical pretreatment technology can handle feedstock with FFA percentages greater than 20 percent. The system’s commissioning took place at a biodiesel refinery in Ontario, Canada, that is a client of Methes.

Evonik's Business Line Lubricant Additives has appointed Palmer Holland to represent its high-performance Viscoplex additives, Viscobase, and Tego Lubricant Defoamers for the Eastern half of the U.S. Strongly committed to the lubricants market, Evonik will broaden its channel to market to enhance services and logistics to selected customers. Evonik’s Business Line Lubricant Additives also includes dewaxing aids used in refinery processing and cold flow improvers for biodiesel, which is part of the chemicals business.

New Orleans-based nonprofit Operation REACH Inc. is recruiting prospective students affected by the BP oil spill to enroll in the spring session as part of its Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project. The spring session was to begin March 10, and participants will engage in extensive hands-on training that includes certification by the National Center for Construction Education and Research and enrollment at Delgado Community College, which houses a lab-scale transesterification unit for students to learn about biodiesel production from used cooking oil. Applicants must provide documentation indicating that they have been directly affected by the oil spill, such as loss of employment or decreased work hours and wages. Operation REACH also has a partnership with Golden Leaf Energy, which distributes and blends the biodiesel produced through the program to local diesel fleets in the area. Currently, the biodiesel facility at DCC is designed to produce about 90 gallons of biodiesel per day, but it may scale up production in the future to approximately 500 gallons a day.

Chevron Technology Ventures is exploring the use of crude jatropha oil (CJO) as feedstock for renewable diesel, and the energy giant will use CJO supplied by Mission NewEnergy Ltd. Chevron will initially use 3,000 gallons from the Australian-based company. Mission NewEnergy believes that over the next 30 years the existing acreage under development by the company’s contracted farmers could produce roughly 22 million barrels of CJO. Mission NewEnergy is currently under an SEC quiet period before a NASDAQ listing and was unable to comment on the recent contract with Chevron. Mission New-Energy created an office in San Antonio and appointed Major General Wilbert D. Pearson (USAF-Ret), the former vice president at Lockheed Martin where he worked on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, to chairman of its advisory board.

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