Blue Sun to launch next-gen biodiesel production with key hire

By Blue Sun Biodiesel | January 08, 2013

There will be historic opportunities in biodiesel in 2013 for those players still able to afford strategic acquisitions as struggling first-generation plants come up for sale. As part of its core strategy to maximize this opportunity, Blue Sun Biodiesel has hired biofuels industry veteran Bruce Baughman as chief operating officer.

Baughman will play a key role in identifying first-generation plants for acquisition, and integrating Blue Sun’s latest enzymatic processing technology into the St. Joseph, Mo., biodiesel facility. Blue Sun estimates its current technology will reduce net production costs by more than 90 cents per gallon—a $27 million cost reduction for a 30 MMgy plant.

“Bruce fits right into the Blue Sun strategy,” said Leigh Freeman, CEO. “Strong teams are the key to successfully establishing new technologies and competitive advantage in the market. What Bruce is bringing will ensure the success of the Blue Sun St. Joe project and help Blue Sun in the development of the next generation of biodiesel production facilities.”

Blue Sun bases its strategy on the excess capacity present in the industry. The $1 per gallon federal biodiesel tax credit established in 2005 led to the boom for the biodiesel industry and a flurry of plant construction. Then, with the 2008 global recession and other industry challenges, many of these plants were idled or competitively derailed. Blue Sun launched a process to evaluate, control and upgrade the best of these legacy facilities with a goal of creating a network of the most technologically advanced biodiesel facilities in the U.S.

Sean Lafferty, vice president of technology and new business at Blue Sun, sees the addition as the right complement to the team.“The project and operational management skills along with the technical experience Bruce brings fits perfectly with Blue Sun’s technology focus,” he said. “His breadth of experience not only assures projects will be successfully implemented, he also understands the technology and the engineering required to install and operate them within the time and budget allotted.”

Baughman will initially direct activities at Blue Sun’s upgrade of the St. Joseph, Mo., biodiesel processing facility. This project is installing new processing technology that will drastically decrease net production costs and increase co-product value by more than 300 percent.

Baughman will work with Blue Sun management in identifying, evaluating and acquiring additional biodiesel facilities and lead technology evolution activities at those facilities.

Over the past 33 years, Baughman has worked with ADM, DuPont/Solae, Kraft, Cargill, Abitec Corp., ITG GreenHunter and Mission NewEnergy. Baughman is a graduate of the University of Missouri, Rolla.

Blue Sun has hired for more than 30 new jobs and continues to seek qualified applicants for new job roles. Information is available at


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