New biodiesel system could have far-reaching implications for U.S. military

By Ron Kotrba | July 15, 2009
Posted August 11, 2009

Six years of work between the U.S. Navy and Biodiesel Industries, along with the more recent addition of the aerospace and defense company Aerojet, has culminated in the development of a high-tech, automated, portable biodiesel production unit controllable by remote. The name given to this new development is ARIES, which stands for Automated, Real-time, Remote, Integrated Energy System.

Aerojet joined the effort between the Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center in Port Hueneme, Calif., and Biodiesel Industries, to provide expertise in integrated system design, fluidic management and control systems development.

With the resources and modus operandi of the U.S. Navy, along with Biodiesel Industries' 10-year biodiesel production database, ARIES utilizes Aerojet's systems control technologies to provide real-time sensing and management of important processing and chemical parameters, resulting in automation of the entire process. Biodiesel Industries stated that this enhances yields, makes quality control more reliable, and assures safety of personnel. This remote sensing also allows for monitoring and operation from one control center for multiple biodiesel processing centers located anywhere in the world.

Russell Teall, president and founder of Biodiesel Industries, said Aerojet and the Navy are perfect partners in this project. "For the past 15 years we've been developing proprietary technology for modular multi-feedstock biodiesel production. Combining the [Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center's] specialization in energy and environmental systems with Aerojet's history of advanced systems controls, enabled the implementation and first public demonstration of Biodiesel Industries' ARIES platform. As the world's largest consumer of diesel fuel, the implications for the Navy and the [Department of Defense] are clear."

Biodiesel Industries chairman, J.J. Rothgery, said the company plans to announce several new developments in coming months, regarding its proprietary methods of feedstock cultivation, making the ARIES system an ideal solution for the Navy with big implications in the commercial arena as well.

The company stated that additional capabilities are now being installed and the ARIES unit will be moved to the National Environmental Test Site at Naval Base Ventura County, in Port Hueneme, Calif., where further demonstration and validation will occur for integrating ARIES with more complex systems .
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