Global Fuels receives feasibility study grant

By Erin Voegele
Posted Sept. 13, 2010

Dexter, Mo.-based Global Fuels LLC recently received a $48,833 grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to explore the technical and economic possibility of producing next generation biofuels. "We are going to use the feasibility study to compare the different technologies that are out there, to implement a new process here at our facility to produce either synthetic drop-in fuels," said Jason Harris, Global Fuels' plant manager, noting his company will also be looking into green chemical and green energy production technologies.

Global Fuels currently operates a 3 MMGy biodiesel plant that uses virgin oils and low free fatty acid grease and oil as feedstock. According to Harris, the main goal of the study is to find a technology that Global Fuels can operate sustainably without subsidy. "Given our current industry, where we are at with this $1 subsidy being lapse and the market being overproduced and [experiencing low demand], it's just something for us to look at for long-term stability," Harris continued.

The official timeline for the feasibility study is one year, however Harris said he hopes to have it complete within six months. "We're looking at several different companies that are either ready to commercialize, or are still in pilot facilities," he said. "We are looking at gasification, pyrolysis, fermentation-we're looking at a lot of technologies, and we hope to get it narrowed down to just a few by the end of the study."

Harris also notes that Global Fuels is hoping to find a technology that can utilize local biomass sources. "We're trying to keep an open mind and unbiased opinion starting out," he said. "We don't want to concentrate on one feedstock because that really narrows your study. We want to keep it open and broad, and that way we get a change to look at everything." Some possible feedstocks that are in abundance locally include agricultural residues, forestry, municipal solid waste, wood waste, construction waste, and manure.

One aspect of the study that is currently unclear is whether Global Fuels would continue to operate its biodiesel plant once a new technology is brought onsite. "That is one of the aspects we are still looking into," Harris said. The current thought, he continued, would be the continued operation of the biodiesel facility during the feasibility study and construction of a new plant. "After everything is up and running, we'll make the determination whether it's still feasible to use the biodiesel facility or not," he said.
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