Biodiesel plant to trade in transesterification for hydroprocessing

By Ron Kotrba | June 09, 2009
Posted July 17, 2009

A small biodiesel refinery in Sedgwick, Kan., Healy Biodiesel Inc., has signed a letter of intent with Cetane Energy LLC to license its patent-pending hydroprocessed renewable diesel technology. Cetane Energy operates a standalone hydroprocessing plant in Carlsbad, N.M., which started operations late last year.

"It is all about feedstock flexibility and fuel quality," said Ben Healy, president of Healy Biodiesel. He told Biodiesel Magazine his company began looking at different hydroprocessing options about a year ago, talking with well-known green diesel tech providers such as UOP, before signing the letter of intent with Cetane Energy. "As good as biodiesel is, renewable diesel is superior," he said. "Cetane Energy's Gen II technology will allow us to break into markets never possible before with traditional biodiesel. We are also very impressed with the quality of fuel that Cetane's technology can put out on a consistent basis."

Healy Biodiesel is a commercial methyl ester refinery with a 1.2 MMgy production capacity. The technology transition phase is expected to begin in November 2009 and completed by April 2010. Healy said while the plant's biodiesel production capacity is at 1.2 MMgy now, they've only been producing a fraction of that volume. Once the process changes are made, the plant will be able to produce 3 MMgy of green diesel. According to Cetane Energy, the operating costs for hydroprocessing will be lower for Healy Biodiesel than what's required for transesterification.
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