Moving In

A biodiesel project sets up shop in Utah
By Bryan Sims | June 14, 2011

Utah doesn’t house an operating commercial biodiesel plant, but that will change by mid-year when Washakie Renewable Energy LLC produces 10 million gallons of fuel-grade methyl esters annually from virgin oils such as safflower near the town of Plymouth.   

Dallas Hanks, Utah State University Extension bioenergy agronomist and director for the USU Extension Center for Agronomic and Woody Biofuels who toured the plant in April, tells Biodiesel Magazine that WRE’s plant is a welcomed sign that a portion of the feedstock research conducted at the university will now be channeled towards in-state biodiesel production and consumption.

“Our activities [at USU] are more focused on the feedstock side so we’re really excited to have something here to refine those feedstocks into biodiesel,” Hanks says.

According to Hanks, the plant features state-of-the-art process technology that was designed in-house by WRE, including a distillation tower that enables the company to produce biojet fuel in addition to biodiesel. Previously, WRE held trial production runs in its pilot facility in Plymouth before scaling up to its 10 MMgy plant, Hanks says. “We’re lucky to have a plant here in Utah,” he says.

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