Business Briefs

By Ron Kotrba | August 23, 2018

Bridgeport Biodiesel 2 LLC, a fully permitted, commercial-scale biodiesel refinery with a capacity of 13 MMgy, has retained Equity Partners HG to find an investor or buyer for the company. The refinery is located in an ecotechnology park in Bridgeport, Connecticut, 50 miles north of New York City. Commissioned in 2017, the plant produced 220,000 gallons of on-spec biodiesel from used cooking oil. Production setbacks with a novel esterification technology ultimately led to filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. CEO Brent Baker said he is eager to exit bankruptcy properly capitalized and restart operations.

Inventure Renewables announced the successful implementation and nearly year-long operation of its Mixed Super Critical Fluid technology at a Wilmar International Ltd. processing plant in Jiangsu province, China. The technology is being used to produce fatty acid methyl esters for oleochemicals and biodiesel from a wide range of vegetable oil feedstocks. Mark Tegen, CEO of Inventure, said the launch of the plant in China is validation of the MSCF technology’s scalability at a commercial level.

Bio Petro Biofuels, a subsidiary of Denver-based Bio Clean Energy S.A., has won a contract to supply biodiesel to the Bolivian government-owned Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos in a public tender process. The biodiesel will be produced at the company’s 50 MMgy plant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which was constructed in 2008 and expanded in 2013 to produce refined glycerin. YPFB provides about 90 percent of the fuel consumed in Bolivia. According to John Kaweske, CEO of Bio Clean Energy, the contract calls for up to 9.5 million gallons over 12 months. 

Hero BX cut the ribbon at its new research and development laboratory on the Erie campus of Penn State Behrend. Located at Knowledge Park in the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center, the lab advances Hero BX’s efforts to diversify and develop biodiesel products for new markets while utilizing students in industry-driven research. One of the first initiatives is to realize a way to reduce the sulfur content of feedstocks used in biodiesel production. Subsequent studies will focus on increasing the efficiency of biodiesel in cold temperature applications such as the airline industry.

Renewable Energy Group Inc. completed its $32 million biodiesel plant expansion and upgrade project in Ralston, Iowa, taking capacity at REG’s first plant from 12 to 30 MMgy. Along with the expansion, significant upgrades have been made to its logistics and storage capabilities. REG broke ground on the project in November 2016 with an initial $24 million commitment. The company invested another $8 million for additional improvements. First Midwest Bank provided $20 million to partially finance the expansion.

U.K. biodiesel producer Argent Energy Group, a subsidiary of John Swire & Sons Ltd., has reached an agreement to acquire Amsterdam-based Simadan Group’s biodiesel production, tank storage and cleaning facilities. Biodiesel Amsterdam is an operating facility that produces more than 100,000 tons per year (30 MMgy) of tallow-based biodiesel. The company expects the acquisition to be completed by early September, representing Argent Energy’s first step to replicating its business outside the U.K.

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