Biofuels Workshop & Trade Show sees success

By | December 01, 2004
Randall Von Wedel, principal biochemist for Cytoculture International Inc., greeted more than 400 people attending the first-ever Biofuels Workshop & Trade Show-Western & Pacific Region by welcoming them to "Biodiesel Country." The annual event, held Oct. 25-27 in Sacramento, Calif., showcased the progress biodiesel has made and its promising future in the region.

Von Wedel was one of several biodiesel industry experts sharing their knowledge at the Biofuels Workshop & Trade Show. He explained that his own introduction to biodiesel began with 5-gallon containers shipped through UPS. There are now eight biodiesel production facilities in California, Nevada and Hawaii.

Biodiesel has a built-in oxygenate with two oxygen atoms built into a chain that is similar in composition to petroleum diesel, according to Von Wedel. He said there is a misconception that biodiesel itself causes NOx emissions. Von Wedel explained NOx forms when nitrogen from the atmosphere combines with biodiesel oxygen atoms during combustion.

Von Wedel added there should be a long-term goal of about 10 billion gallons of biodiesel production in the United States by 2030. Scott Hughes, California biodiesel expert and National Biodiesel Board member, said the dedicated biodiesel production in the United States is currently about 100 mmgy. Hughes said the industry needs to continue to build demand through education of consumers and policymakers.
Wolfgang Steiger, Volkswagen AG's group research director for Powertrain, posed a goal for Europe using 15 percent biofuels in its fuel supply by 2020. He said his company has developed a prototype vehicle that can travel 100 kilometers (62 miles) on just one liter (0.26 gallons) of diesel.

Several biodiesel industry experts discussed various aspects of commercial-scale biodiesel production. Fred Wellons, the director of Research and Development for Baker Commodities Inc., discussed biodiesel production from rendering and waste grease. Wellons credited the rendering industry with eliminating over 53 billion pounds of waste products each year that would otherwise be sent to landfills. He said rendering companies are becoming interested in the biodiesel industry because it may be a profitable investment.

West Center and Renewable Group Sales and Production Manager Myron Danzer gave an overview of large-scale production. Danzer touched on important issues surrounding biodiesel success such as site selection, project management and fuel quality systems such as BQ9000.
A project in New South Wales, Australia, uses modular production units that are configured to produce over 10 mmgy of biodiesel, according to Russell Teall, president of Biodiesel Industries. Teall said the biggest short-term production challenge facing biodiesel is finding a NOx reduction strategy. He noted several possible solutions included fuel additives and exhaust treatment devices. Teall said the biggest long-term challenge is finding viable feedstocks. Some possible underutilized resources he noted were palm and coconut, mustard, new oil-bearing crops and algae.

Graham Noyes, vice president of sales for World Energy Alternatives LLC, discussed the issues pertaining to biodiesel distribution, markets and regulatory issues. He said that biodiesel is becoming more accepted because of its high cetane content, lubricity and BTU content compared to petroleum diesel fuel. He added that biodiesel compares well with the EPA's 2006 diesel standards.

Visit www.bbibiofuels.com/biofuelsworkshop.com for more information on the Biofuels Workshop & Trade Show and to purchase a CD containing the 2004 conference proceedings.
 
 
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