Blue Sky Biodiesel starts construction in Idaho

By | July 01, 2006
In a brownfield construction project, Blue Sky Biodiesel LLC has started retrofitting the old Emmet Valley Fruit building at the Jiano Industrial Park in New Plymouth, Idaho, in order to produce 1 MMgy of biodiesel there. However small, it would be the first biodiesel production facility in Idaho.

Scott Burn, project engineer for Blue Sky, said retrofitting an old building as opposed to erecting a new facility was based primarily on time and cost. The plant will be equipped with multi-feedstock processing capabilities, utilizing virgin oils from soybeans, canola and rapeseed, as well as free fatty acids.

Blue Sky Biodiesel will market its own biodiesel, and has also overseen all aspects of construction and process engineering for the New Plymouth facility. Burn said the company is interested in pursuing BQ-9000 certification, but in-house quality control is expected to be more stringent than any national or organizational criteria. "We are excited to be a part of the industry and look forward to being the first biodiesel plant in Idaho," Burn said.

Although Blue Sky Biodiesel will be the first producer in the state, Idaho has had a B20 funding program for several years. It is designed to provide a public demonstration of the use of B20 for both fleet and individual vehicle users, in order to develop a B20 consumer market in Idaho. Funded by a grant from the U.S. DOE and the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho, the money is used to decrease the price difference between petroleum and biodiesel blends for partners in the demonstration project. The program began in May 2002 in the southwestern area of Idaho known as Treasure Valley, the state's largest metropolitan area that includes Boise. Later that year, the program expanded to the southern area of the state known as Magic Valley.

Currently, there are three distributors of B20 in Idaho: Baird Oil Company Inc., United Oil and BriCo of Idaho. Likewise, there are three sites in Idaho and one near the Idaho/Oregon border where diesel drivers can purchase B20.
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