New Jersey Producer Provides Power to Power Plants

By Tom Stone | November 13, 2008
Strategically located in the middle of New Jersey's "Chemical Corridor," Fuel:Bio Holdings LLC, isn't the typical chemical producer. In fact, the company is bringing greener pastures to the Garden State in the form of biodiesel. Based on a business plan to market large quantities of clean-burning biodiesel to fuel power plants at an economical price, Elizabeth, N.J.-based Fuel:Bio has been fully operational since May 2007 and anticipates growth due to the growing interest in its product.

"It was in March 2007 that we finished construction of the biodiesel plant," says John Borruso, government affairs liaison at Fuel:Bio. "We've been very happy with how we've maintained our capacity and don't see why we would lose any momentum down the road. The Northeastern United States is a large market and we are excited about the growth potential for biodiesel as an alternative for petroleum-based fuels that are largely used in power plants today."

Located on a 2.5-acre parcel along the Jersey Shore, Fuel:Bio's plant was designed internally by the company's employees. The company uses proprietary technology and processes to produce ASTM D 6751-certified biodiesel, the industry specification that ensures proper performance. The company's current capacity is 50 MMgy with an onsite storage capacity of approximately 1 million gallons. However, it plans to grow efficiently and effectively as the company continues to successfully test its product in various power generation plants throughout the Northeast.

"Most of our customers are in the testing phase of this process," Borruso says. "Since this is a relatively new product for them, they are concerned about how they would integrate it into their current system. However, a test using biodiesel in a power plant can consume a tremendous amount of fuel. You're talking about one test using about one week's worth of production."

Even though Borruso won't go into specifics on just how many plants are currently testing its biodiesel, he was able to elaborate on one of the more publicized tests that took place near the end of 2007. Along with many other institutions, Princeton University is looking into several ways to reduce its carbon footprint. The university conducted a test using
Fuel:Bio's biodiesel to see how its campus energy plant boilers and gas turbine cogeneration system would perform with the alternative fuel.

"We completed a test run for Princeton University near the end of 2007 where we ran 100 percent biodiesel in their system," Borruso explains. "The numbers that have come back have been great. The reduction in emissions and the increase in efficiency have been marvelous. What we're really looking to do is to create our fuel with that university for their generators. The idea behind this for Princeton is to reduce its emissions across the board. By using biodiesel in their generators, they can reach their goal by reducing emissions to a very low number."

Keys to Success, Future Plans
Key to the success of any biodiesel production facility is the quality of its finished product. Biodiesel can be produced by nearly anyone. However, ASTM D 6751-certified biodiesel is specified for tests being conducted by Fuel:Bio at various power plants throughout its market. In order to produce this quality product, the correct equipment must be in place and performing at expected levels.

Even though Fuel:Bio is happy with its current facility design and production capabilities, the company plans to expand capacity as demand grows. "We plan on eventually increasing our production capacity at this plant," Harnanan says. "We can easily do that by increasing the size of our pumps and a few other minor adjustments."

Along with the increase in production, Fuel:Bio has plans for bringing additional feedstocks into the fold that provide a higher return on investment and a better overall approach to biodiesel production and lower emissions. In essence, this future system would provide a "closed-loop" system that would grow the feedstock from the emissions produced by a power plant.

"Algae is very exciting for us right now," Borruso says. "We have identified six strands of algae that we're focusing on right now and are currently growing. They are being grown on a farm in upstate New York. We see a tremendous amount of potential to integrate the algae with the reduction of additional carbon dioxide from power generation. We can grow the algae at any location. It doesn't have to be on a 100-acre farm. You can do it very easily in vertical tubes that can be built as high as you deem fit. What we're looking at is vertical farming of the algae. We're changing the dimensions of the agriculture industry. The algae growing process can still be paired with the power plants so that we can run those emissions through the algae so that the algae can feed off of the carbon dioxide as it grows." n

Tom Stone is the director of marketing for Blackmer. Reach him at stone@blackmer.com or (616) 248-9252.
 
 
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