BIOX lands funding to install glycerin refining equipment

By Bryan Sims | August 03, 2011

Biodiesel producers are constantly on the lookout for ways to maximize their operating efficiencies at a low cost to produce a profit. Oakville, Ontario-based biodiesel producer BIOX Corp. did just that when it secured funding from Farm Credit Canada to upgrade its existing 67 MMly (17.7 MMgy) located in Hamilton, Ontario, to improve the quality of glycerin from crude to technical grade.

Farm Credit Canada agreed to replace BIOX’s existing term debt loan with a new loan that will include approximately $4.8 million for the final design and construction costs of a stand-alone glycerin refinement facility co-located on site of the Hamilton biodiesel production plant.

BIOX has already completed pilot plant testing and evaluations of its glycerin refinement solution. The mechanical, piping and structural upgrades to the Hamilton facility are scheduled to coincide with the company’s regularly planned semiannual maintenance shutdown during the fall with the installation of major equipment expected to begin in early 2012 during its planned spring maintenance.

The planned upgrades, according to BIOX Chief Financial Officer Chris Clinning, will allow the company to capture “a vast majority” of the approximately 9.4 million pounds of glycerin that’s produced annually at the Hamilton plant.

“The initial design of the [Hamilton] plant was such that it was designed to produce technical grade glycerin from day one,” Clinning told Biodiesel Magazine, “but, unfortunately, we ran into some difficulties that meant we ended up having to basically strip off the glycerin stream.”

According to BIOX, its current crude glycerin product has limited market applications that require costly storage and handling procedures, which can exceed its market value. Technical grade glycerin, according to BIOX, currently carries a wholesale market value of approximately 30 to 40 cents a pound.

The company is working to market its own technical-grade glycerin, which is used in a variety of industrial applications such as chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

“We don’t have a sales and marketing plant in place today,” Clinning said. “It’s going to take some time for the actual project to be completed.”

According to Clinning, the glycerin refinement project will form part of the standard design and economic advantage that will go into BIOX’s future biodiesel plants.

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