New owners of GreenHunter facility begin project 'fast-start'

By Ron Kotrba | March 12, 2013

Channel Biorefinery & Terminals LLC purchased the longtime idled 105 MMgy GreenHunter Biofuels biodiesel production facility on the Houston Ship Channel back in October, and now the firm is preparing for a March 14 groundbreaking ceremony to launch its “fast-start” project to get the plant running by July.

The GreenHunter facility was hit by Hurricane Ike in September 2008 just months after opening and, afterwards, the owners were unable to fund repairs necessary to restart the huge processing plant as the global financial crisis unfolded.

“There is both a short-term and a long-term plan,” Kenneth P. Brown, president and CEO of Channel Biorefinery & Terminals, told Biodiesel Magazine. “In the short term, we are completing the work in the plant that was never fully made operational due to either the hurricane or lack of funds following the hurricane. This includes adding more efficient reaction technology, eliminating bottlenecks identified during the short time the plant was operational, and adding additional modular equipment to devolatize and polish glycerin. This will get us to 30 to 35 MMgy.”  

Soybean oil will be used to commission the plant, but Brown said once it is running, feedstock with higher free fatty acids will be used in greater increments.

“The long-term plan is to invest a substantial amount of money to completely remove the bottlenecks and create a process that is completely feedstock agnostic,” Brown said, adding that he is willing to share more information on what he called Channel Biorefinery & Terminals’ “proprietary feedstock” after the plant is running. This long-term plan involves boosting biodiesel production capacity from 35 MMgy to 75 MMgy.

“What makes this place so unique is that we have 640,000 barrels (26.88 million gallons) of terminal storage located on Greens Bayou that connects to the Houston Ship Channel,” Brown said. “We intend to develop the terminal portion of our facility to help balance the volatility of the biofuels marketplace.” 


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