Bluegrass BioDiesel nears completion

By Susanne Retka Schill | July 15, 2009
Posted August 18, 2009

Bluegrass BioDiesel LLC is halfway through the commissioning process, with all interior systems having been checked out and systems being tested outside as contractors complete their work. Full startup of the 14 MMgy multifeedstock plant is anticipated by the end of August at at Falmouth, Ky.

General Manager Rich Wojtkowski described a number of features used in the plant to reduce the capital investment such as using stainless steel only where required, substituting lower cost carbon steel. Flexible hoses will give the ability to reroute product streams. Gravity separation will be used, eliminating the cost of centrifuges. While using standard acid pretreatment and base transesterification, the plant is capable of handling 2 to 22 percent free fatty acids with three stages where water can be removed. "Our objective is to produce a very pure product that we can market as B100 ultra, removing all impurities," Wojtkowski said. The plant also includes a methanol recovery and glycerin purification. "We will push for BQ9000 certification," he added. "I have experience with ISO certification, so I know the policies and quality control that has to be in place."

Bluegrass Biodiesel plans to offer B90 or B99 blends as well as B100 to its regional customers. "Some want a blended product, which they can blend further," Wojtkowski said. "We handle the government issues, the filings, etcetera."

"The fact that they'll be cranking up at the end of the month is welcome news," said Jack Wright, executive director of the Pendleton County Industrial Authority. He began working with the developers over five years ago when the project was first proposed. Retrofitting of a building began in 2007 although construction was halted after about a year when the project ran out of funds. Refinancing took a year to arrange with work beginning again in January.

J.E. Johnson Inc., Midland, Mich., is the general contractor and Versakon Biofuels LLC provided the plant design for the Falmouth plant. The two companies are among the eight investors in the plant.

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