Patriot BioFuels reaches start-up

By | April 01, 2006
Arkansas recently welcomed its second commercial-scale biodiesel producer. Patriot BioFuels, a 3 MMgy biodiesel facility located in Stuttgart, Ark., began initial production in early March.

Patriot BioFuels President Tommy Foltz said the project took approximately 11 months from initiating the business plan to start-up. The Greenline-Industries-designed production unit began construction in October 2005. The biodiesel production unit is located in a small section of a vacant 31,000-square-foot rice warehouse. Foltz said the building would allow for several additional lines of production up to approximately 25 MMgy. The company plans on expanding, either at the existing facility or a different site. "Three million gallons is not where we want to be," Foltz said. "This is just the beginning."

Expansion relies mainly on the demand for biodiesel in the region. Stuttgart is approximately one hour southeast of Little Rock, Ark., and two hours from the Memphis, Tenn., market. Foltz expects strong demand from agriculture and trucking interests throughout the state.

The plant is multi-feedstock capable, although Patriot BioFuels will initially use soybean oil purchased from Riceland Foods Inc.'s Stuttgart soy processing facility. Rendered animal fats, primarily from poultry, will also be used.

Patriot BioFuels raised funds for the project by targeting a wide array of investors, including venture capitalists and those in the agriculture and fuel industries.
Foltz, who has served as the director of the National Clean Cities Program and staff director for the U.S. DOE's Federal Fleet Conversion Task Force, recognized the importance of fuel quality as well. Patriot BioFuels plans to apply for BQ-9000 accreditation once the plant is at nameplate capacity.
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