United Biofuels begins production in Pennsylvania

By | June 01, 2006
From what started as a project to raise awareness about biodiesel, four men with ties to Columbia University started United Biofuels Inc., a biodiesel plant in York, Pa., with a capacity of 1 MMgy, according to Nick Kukrika, chief financial officer.

Production began in April at about 750,000 gallons, a number that was expected to increase with time. "I think we'll be at a million by the end of the year," he said.

Edgar Nanne, chief technical officer and chemist, has past experience producing biodiesel from waste oil gathered from an uncle's fast food restaurant in Guatemala. He introduced the idea to petroleum engineers John Cole, United Biofuels executive officer; and Christian, Aucoin, chief operating officer. The men used their knowledge to refine the process until they felt ready to break into the U.S. biodiesel industry, Kukrika said.

The group started out as a biodiesel distribution company. Beginning in October, they distributed the biofuel on a limited basis.

An existing industrial warehouse was converted to a biodiesel production facility, and construction began in December. With the partners' combined knowledge base, designing and building the biodiesel facility went "swimmingly," Kukrika said. In fact, the group met or slightly exceeded all their targets for getting the facility up and running.

United Biofuels will provide biodiesel to a variety of different customers, from end-users to distributors, he said. The company's "flagship" customer is RabbitTransit, York County's public transportation authority, which is currently running some buses on B20.
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