Business Briefs

By Ron Kotrba | August 26, 2013

National Distributors Inc. formed a new partnership with Maine Standard Biofuels to use a biodiesel blend made from locally collected used cooking oil that will save the beverage company 10 cents a gallon, a total savings of $3,500 by the end of this year, and more than $7,000 by the end of 2014. “As a Maine company, we are always striving to find ways to help the environment and protect our state,” says Jeff Kane, president of National Distributors. “Our new relationship with Maine Standard Biofuels is a great opportunity for our company to build on our industry-leading efforts to reduce our energy costs and provide the best service to our retailers and customers. We plan to use this new blend of fuel in all of our diesel trucks. We are really excited about our savings, but most importantly, we’re proud that we are able to utilize a fuel source that originates from our restaurant accounts.”

Renewable Energy Group Inc. completed the purchase of a 30 MMgy biodiesel plant in Mason City, Iowa, formerly owned by Soy Energy LLC. REG acquired the biorefinery for $11 million in cash and the issuance of a $5.1 million promissory note. REG plans to repair and restart the facility using soybean oil and low free fatty acid feedstocks by the end of the year. The acquisition brings the company’s total annual production capacity to 257 million gallons. REG now owns and operates eight active biorefineries. REG also will now be offering biodiesel at the International-Matex Tank Terminals in Bayonne, N.J., in New York Harbor, one of the world’s largest petroleum trading hubs. This new location allows REG to sell large volumes of biodiesel via barge or truck. The company also recently finished upgrading its REG-Albert Lea plant in Minnesota, and it has started operations at its REG-New Boston facility in Texas.

John Swire & Sons (Green Investments) Ltd. has acquired Scottish biodiesel producer Argent Energy. Argent Energy says it pioneered large-scale commercial biodiesel production in the U.K. when it started production at its state-of-the-art plant, designed and built by Austria-based BDI-BioEnergy International, near Motherwell, Scotland, in 2005. The award-winning firm makes its biodiesel from used cooking oil, tallow and sewer grease. The acquisition for an undisclosed sum sees the firm remain in private ownership, according to Argent Energy, and it will continue to operate independently. It employs 70 people.

After years in the works, Enerfuel S.A.’s 25,000 ton (7.5 MMgy) multifeedstock biodiesel plant in Sines, Portugal, has officially begun production. Enerfuel first commissioned Austria-based BDI-BioEnergy International AG to carry out the overall planning, delivery and installation of the biodiesel facility in 2006, which cost about €10 million ($13.4 million). After installation was completed, Enerfuel halted the project in 2008. In September 2012, BDI was commissioned by Enerfuel to restart and finalize the project, a job worth another €3 million to BDI. Enerfuel brought in Portuguese oil company GALP as a partner. The newly operational biodiesel refinery is using animal fats and used cooking oil as biodiesel feedstock.

Florida-based Viesel Fuel has retooled to produce biodiesel using enzymes from Novozymes. Owner Stu Lamb says the process is less expensive while opening up feedstock choices and producing high-quality glycerin. The enzymes can be reused 10 to 15 times. After extensive feedstock cleaning using filtration, centrifugation and caustic treatment, the prepped feedstock is then filtered again through a 1 micron filter and checked for its alkalinity before mixing with the liquid enzymes and methanol in a plastic reactor tank. The product is settled before extracting the glycerin and demethylating the fuel. Lamb says the plant uses a proprietary resin process to polish the fuel before sending it to the final stage, a vacuum tower to remove water. Additionally, a proprietary ultrafiltration system is used to extract the enzymes from the glycerin for reuse. Lamb says next year Viesel Fuel is primed to produce between 5 and 7 million gallons.

McDonald’s UAE announced that Del Monte, its fresh produce supplier, recently implemented the pioneering biodiesel initiative originally campaigned across the UAE by McDonald’s in 2011 in partnership with Neutral Fuels. A total of 20 vehicles from Del Monte’s logistics fleet are currently running on biodiesel made from McDonald’s UAE’s used vegetable cooking oil. Del Monte’s entire fleet of vehicles is expected to run on biodiesel by the end of 2013.

Biodiesel of Las Vegas has received its BQ-9000 certification from the National Biodiesel Board, making it the first and only biodiesel producer in Nevada to receive this certification. The Las Vegas facility is among a select group of 46 other biodiesel producers in the U.S. To receive accreditation, companies must pass rigorous review and inspection of their quality control process by an independent auditor to ensure the program is fully implemented. Biodiesel of Las Vegas, a subsidiary of New-Com Inc., is a 4 MMgy biodiesel production facility located in the Las Vegas area, near Nellis Air Force Base.

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