Duonix retrofitting 50 MMgy Beatrice, Neb., plant

By Ron Kotrba | July 10, 2013

Benefuel Inc. has completed agreements with Flint Hills Resources Renewables LLC to develop biodiesel refineries in the U.S. using Benefuel’s patented Ensel refining technology, under development for six years. The joint venture, named Duonix LLC, is actively developing the first project, a retrofit of the 50 MMgy facility in Beatrice, Neb., acquired by FHR out of bankruptcy and has since been transferred to Duonix. The Beatrice plant will continue to be operated by FHR.

Itochu Corp., one of Japan’s largest conglomerates and a current Benefuel shareholder, has invested in the Beatrice project as a strategic partner of Benefuel and as a result of its own extensive technology validation efforts. In addition to the Beatrice project, Benefuel and Itochu intend to develop international opportunities with a focus on Asia. “As a result of our year-long demonstration experiment in Japan with our partner company, we are confident of the enormous advantage of the Ensel technology over conventional biodiesel production methods,” says Yasushi Kiyobayashi, deputy general manager of the corporate development department at Itochu. “The Beatrice project will be an important cornerstone for the biofuel industry in the U.S. but also in other countries. We are excited to explore the immense business opportunities in Asia with Benefuel.”

Benefuel’s Ensel technology employs a solid acid catalyst reactor that combines esterification and transesterification into a single step. Ensel has been validated independently by FHR and Itochu at two separate 1-ton-per-day demonstration facilities. Benefuel is the exclusive, worldwide license-holder of the patented, intellectual property and catalyst, which was developed by National Chemical Laboratories and is produced by Süd-Chemie (now part of Clariant).

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