Bridgeport Biodiesel holds grand opening for new plant in Conn.

By Bryan Sims | February 15, 2012

Bridgeport BioDiesel LLC hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of its 1 MMgy biodiesel multifeedstock production facility located in Bridgeport, Conn.

Originally conceived in 2008, Bridgeport BioDiesel co-owner Debbie Russo told Biodiesel Magazine the new plant is one of several tenants sited at an ecoindustrial park that’s currently under development in Bridgeport. Expected to be fully complete in the next decade, the park will house co-located renewable energy and ecofriendly projects such as an anaerobic digester, an algae farm and a mattress recycling facility, to name a few .

“It’s really taking off and it’s got the attention of a lot of people,” Russo said, adding that the state is considering the idea of replicating similar parks within the state. “[State] government support is at an all-time high for this idea.”

Notable state and local dignitaries who joined Russo and her Bridgeport BioDiesel partners and employees during the grand opening on Jan. 30 included Bridgeport Mayor Jim Finch, Bridgeport Regional Business Council President Paul Timpanelli, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Dan Esty and state congressman Jim Himes.

The plant, according to Russo, is currently permitted to produce 1 MMgy of biodiesel exclusively from used cooking oil sourced from area restaurants, hospitals, school cafeterias and other food processing establishments in a 60-mile radius. The facility is designed for capacity expansion to 3 MMgy. She noted the company is in the process of obtaining a second permit to produce an additional 1 MMgy of biodiesel derived from collected brown grease. A third shift may be added, Russo said, to produce yet another 1 MMgy.

“We can also use other feedstocks such as virgin oils too,” Russo said. “We’re the closest biodiesel plant to New York City so we’re also looking at potentially sourcing waste vegetable oils from there, and potentially supplying biodiesel to that market as well.”

Primary customers of Bridgeport BioDiesel’s product will be sold to local on-road diesel fleet vehicles, but Russo said the company is interested in supplying biodiesel to the Northeast home heating oil market in the future.

Bridgeport BioDiesel joins in-state biodiesel producer Bio-Pur Inc., an 800,000 gallon per year plant in Bethlehem, as the two major biodiesel producing firms in Connecticut. In November, however, Greenleaf Biofuels LLC broke ground on a 10 MMgy multifeedstock facility in New Haven.

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