FHR, Benefuel to complete Beatrice biodiesel retrofit in 2015
Flint Hills Resources announced today the first commercial-scale use of an innovative biodiesel technology through a joint venture with Benefuel Inc. known as Duonix LLC. Flint Hills Resources will begin retrofitting the Beatrice, Neb., biodiesel plant for a planned commencement of operations during the summer of 2015. Once the Duonix Beatrice plant is operational, it will produce approximately 50 MMgy of biodiesel and employ about 45 people in the local community.
Since 2010, Flint Hills Resources has worked with Benefuel to test and validate its innovative, patented and proprietary biodiesel technology. Benefuel’s Ensel technology updates 75-year-old chemistry to provide an exciting new process for next-generation renewable fuel and industrial chemicals production. The technology is unique because it allows the use of lower cost, high free fatty acid (FFA) feedstocks such as animal tallow, unrefined oils, used vegetable oils or distillers corn oil—a coproduct of ethanol manufacturing—to produce high-quality biodiesel. This is accomplished through the use of a solid catalyst that combines esterification and transesterification into a single step, which has been a long-standing goal of the biodiesel industry. The process also ensures the final product meets or exceeds all domestic and European biodiesel standards.
“We are pleased that our Beatrice, Neb., facility will have the opportunity to bring this innovative technology to life,” said Brad Razook, president of Flint Hills Resources. “We look forward to demonstrating the technology’s commercial application and beginning production.”
Feedstock prices are a top driver in the cost associated with producing biodiesel. Benefuel’s technology allows producers to use lower-cost feedstocks to generate higher yields and improve profit margins. The use of lower-cost feedstocks also opens new markets for feedstock producers.
“Benefuel’s goal has always been to improve the profitability of biodiesel by reducing the operating costs to produce it,” said Rob Tripp, CEO of Benefuel. “For more than six years, we have worked to develop a product we believe will improve the profitability of biodiesel, slow resource consumption and cut waste.”
Benefuel is the exclusive owner of the patented process to use a solid catalyst to produce biodiesel and biolubricants, which was developed by the National Chemical Laboratories and is produced by Süd-Chemie (now part of Clariant).
Flint Hills Resources acquired the Beatrice biodiesel plant out of bankruptcy in 2011. The plant was originally built in 2008, but was not finished and never operated. In May 2013, Benefuel announced a joint venture with Flint Hills Resources, known as Duonix LLC, to develop domestic biodiesel production capabilities. Duonix Beatrice will be the first joint commercial venture from the companies.
The Duonix joint venture was formed to leverage Benefuel’s leading Ensel biodiesel refining technology with Flint Hills Resources operating experience to become a leader in the U.S. biodiesel industry, through the construction of new facilities and/or acquisition and retrofit of existing facilities.
Flint Hills Resources is currently hiring for open positions at the Duonix Beatrice biodiesel plant. For more information, please visit www.FHRCareers.com.