REG and Rendered Products Come Out as Winners

By Tina Caparella

Renewable Energy Group (REG) emerged as the winning bidder from among eight companies seeking to supply 400,000 gallons of biodiesel to the Hawaiian Electric Company, Honolulu, HI, to conduct biodiesel operational testing and collect additional emissions data for its new Campbell Industrial Park Generating Unit. The biodiesel being supplied by REG uses animal fats and used cooking oils as feedstock so as to meet the sustainability requirement in an environmental policy established in August 2007 by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Hawaiian Electric. Although the policy specifies procurement of biodiesel from sustainably-produced palm oil and locally-grown feedstocks, after further discussions, the NRDC has indicated that animal fats and waste cooking oils meet the sustainability goals of the policy.

As with all Hawaiian Electric fuel contracts, the REG contract has been submitted to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for review, as well as input from the Hawaii Division of Consumer Advocacy, before the contract can be included in Hawaiian Electric’s fuel costs. Although the electric company had not received PUC approval by November 10, 2009, Hawaiian Electric has begun receiving shipments of the fuel. REG is the second biodiesel supplier for the generation station. In August, the PUC rejected a previous contract with another potential supplier.

In addition to the 400,000 gallon contract already awarded to REG, Hawaiian Electric accepted a second set of proposals in late September to supply three million to seven million gallons of biodiesel per year for two years. REG has responded to this new round of bidding, proposing again to supply biodiesel processed from animal fat and used cooking oil. Hawaiian Electric had hoped to complete a contract for consideration by the PUC by the end of November.

In other news, REG has been awarded an eighth BQ-9000 Producer status in its national production and marketing network. REG Houston has earned the status from the National Biodiesel Board and National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission for its 35 million gallon per year biodiesel production facility. REG is responsible for marketing REG-9000 branded biodiesel produced at the Seabrook, TX, facility.

BDI Now Offering Biogas Technology

BDI-BioDiesel International AG, a multi-feedstock biodiesel plant supplier, has entered the biogas industry with the Enbasys ENBAFERM technology, developed by Enbasys GmbH, a company now part of the BDI Group and headquartered at BDI offices in Graz, Austria.

The patented Enbasys ENBAFERM anaerobic digestion technology produces biogas from multiple low-value feedstocks, including food industry residues (e.g., brewery spent grain, slaughterhouse residues), organic waste (e.g., flotation sludge, municipal solid waste), biofuel industry residues (e.g., ethanol stillage, distillation residues), and agricultural waste and produce. One key feature of the fermenter digester is the ability to reduce the amount of meat and bone meal crax produced from specified risk material that is regulated for disposal in some countries.

The fully automated system utilizes an average of 27,000 square feet and reduces dry matter content from 70 to 75 percent.

Brazil Moves Up Biodiesel Mandate

Although not due to go into effect until 2013, Minister Edison Lobao, chairman of Brazil’s National Energy Policy Planning, has moved up the country’s biodiesel mandate to take effect January 2010. At that time all diesel fuel consumed in the country must contain five percent biodiesel (B5), which is estimated to increase the production of biodiesel to 2.4 billion liters (634 million gallons) next year.

The country had already increased the percentage of biodiesel mixture of two to three percent in July 2008, and three to four percent in July 2009, enabling the development of Brazil’s biodiesel industry, where currently there are 43 plants in all regions of the country. The installed capacity is more than enough for the B5 mandate, 3.6 billion liters (951 million gallons) per year.

Chicken Fat from Wastewater Examined

Much to the interest of the poultry industry, university researchers are working at converting recovered fat from poultry wastewater streams into an economically viable alternative fuel source for processors.

In a recent study led by Dr. Brian Kiepper, assistant professor and extension poultry scientist in the University of Georgia’s departments of poultry science and biological and agricultural engineering, he and fellow researchers evaluated five poultry waste streams as potential sources of alternative fuel: float fat after primary screens, secondary screen offal, tertiary screen offal, and chemical and non-chemical dissolved air flotation skimmings. Of the five, float fat and secondary screen offal were shown to have the greatest potential for further refinement and use as biofuel, given their relative ease of extraction and recovery efficiency.

“Our ultimate goal,” said Kiepper, “is to develop a self-contained, low-temperature fat extraction and purification system that can be installed on-site at food processing plants to produce, in an economically feasible way, a usable quantity of fuel-quality fat for processors.” He estimates that recovering only 10 percent of the 44.6 million gallons of fat produced in the state of Georgia each year by this method would result in an estimated annual savings on fuel-oil purchases of nearly $9 million.

Cleantech Award Bestowed on BIOX

Biodiesel pioneers Timothy Haig and Kevin Norton of BIOX Corporation have been awarded the 2009 Ontario Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Cleantech Award.

BIOX designed, built, owns, and operates a 60 million liter (15.8 million gallons) per year multi-feedstock biodiesel production facility in Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Canada Pumps More Funding into Biodiesel

The Government of Canada will provide up to $5.4 million in funding over seven years to a biodiesel plant in Mississauga, Ontario. The Methes Energies’ biodiesel plant will receive the funding through the ecoENERGY for Biofuels program, which is an investment to help strengthen the Canadian renewable fuel industry, support job creation, and help to stimulate the local economy.

The Government of Canada will invest up to $1.5 billion over nine years through the ecoENERGY for Biofuels program. The government’s Economic Action Plan also dedicates $1 billion to the Clean Energy Fund and $1 billion for the Green Infrastructure Fund to provide additional economic stimulus while promoting a cleaner, more sustainable energy future for Canadians.

Renewable energy sources are increasingly becoming part of Canada’s energy mix. To build on this momentum, Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt hosted roundtable sessions with the provinces and territories, industry, researchers, and the financial community to discuss strategies for securing a strong energy economy in the long term.

Ireland Mandates Biofuels

Under a Biofuels Obligation approved by Ireland’s government in early November, fuel suppliers will have to include an average of four percent biofuels derived from sustainable sources in their annual fuel sales beginning July 2010. The biofuels used must produce 35 percent less greenhouse gases than their fossil fuel counterparts. The obligation puts responsibility on fuel suppliers to move toward low-carbon fuels, and at no cost to the taxpayer.

Stringent conditions will also be introduced in relation to the source and type of biofuels supplied. In order for biofuels to be counted towards the obligation, they must meet the European Union Sustainability Criteria for biofuels. The conditions include provisions to make sure biofuels cannot come from carbon sinks (i.e., rainforests and savannahs), and strict reporting requirements on social conditions (i.e., water cannot be diverted from indigenous populations).

Ireland does not have oil supplies of its own but can produce biofuels. Approximately 30 percent of the biofuels used in Ireland are produced by Irish companies, a figure that is constantly rising. The obligation aims to build on the progress to date, and create a long-term framework for biofuels production in Ireland.

The Biofuels Obligation will be administered by the National Oil Reserves Agency.

Missouri Plant Fined

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources have reached a settlement with Natural Biodiesel Plant, LLC, for violating the state’s Hazardous Waste Management Law and the Clean Water Law.

According to Koster, the company illegally disposed of more than 187,000 gallons of glycerin by-product by applying or dumping it on land in Pemiscot and Dunklin counties. The glycerin flowed into the Belle Fountain Ditch and its tributary, Ditch No. 6, killing more than 25,000 fish and more than 600 mussels, including some on the federal endangered species list. This resulted in the water quality of those water bodies to be below the water quality standards established by the Missouri Clean Water Commission.

Under the settlement agreement, Natural Biodiesel paid a civil penalty of nearly $38,000, which will go into the Pemiscot County School Fund. The company also paid more than $32,000 to reimburse the state for costs, expenses, and damages. The company will pay a $44,000 suspended penalty if it violates either the Missouri hazardous waste or clean water laws within the next two years.

Resolution Supports Biodiesel

At the annual meeting of the Midwestern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments, nearly a dozen resolutions were passed, including one in support of increasing biodiesel blends in diesel fuel.

The resolution cites that Midwestern states have led the country in the production and utilization of biodiesel, and that research into biodiesel from non-food feedstocks such as algae, waste oils, and tallow require an economically stable demand for biodiesel. In the resolution, the council encouraged resources be directed to increasing the content of biodiesel in commercial diesel fuel and plans to notify appropriate federal, state, and provincial officials of its support for increasing the use of the alternative fuel.

Washington Settles with Seattle Biodiesel

Under a settlement agreement between Seattle Biodiesel, LLC, and the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), Seattle Biodiesel will pay $12,000 to settle a total of $20,000 in penalties Ecology levied against the company for spilling a mixture of biodiesel, methanol, sodium hydroxide, and other processing chemicals near the Duwamish River in July 2007.

In March 2009, after considering additional factual information about the spill submitted by Seattle Biodiesel, Ecology agreed to reduce the penalty to $16,000. Seattle Biodiesel appealed the department’s decision to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board. In late October, both parties agreed to settle the spill violation for $12,000.

The spill occurred July 27, 2007, at the company’s facility located on the east shore of the Duwamish. An employee was pumping a processing-chemical mixture of vegetable oil, biodiesel, sodium hydroxide, methanol, and glycerin from a large tank to a small portable tank. The transfer was left unattended, however, and the small tank overflowed and the mixture ran across a driveway into a small inlet along the Duwamish River.

Between 391 and 620 gallons of the mixture reached the waterway. All but 23 gallons was recovered. Ecology Spills Program Manager Dale Jensen said Seattle Biodiesel responded promptly to and cleaned up most of the spill. The firm has since sold the facility to General Biodiesel, a different company.

Biofuels Bulletin – December 2009 RENDER | back