Biodiesel refinery to leverage new technology

October 10, 2007

Giles Clark

A biodiesel refinery, leveraging a novel solid catalyst that converts low-grade fats and vegetable oils into biodiesel, is to be built in Seymour, Indiana, by Benefuel, Inc., it was announced today (10th October). According to Benefuel the plant, planned to be planned to come on stream by late 2008, eliminates the need for water in the refining process and produces a market-ready glycerin by-product.

The 10 million gallon/year biodiesel plant, which will be built and operated in partnership with Seymour Biofuels, uses Benefuel’s solid, acid catalyst. The catalyst, developed in collaboration with leading chemical engineers from India’s National Chemical Laboratory, can turn virtually any vegetable oil or high free fatty acid (FFA) animal fat directly into biodiesel without, says the company, the need for costly pre-processing.

“This is a great leap forward for the entire biodiesel industry, and an exciting development for Indiana’s farmers and transportation companies,” said Rob Tripp, CEO of Benefuel, Inc. “Biodiesel refiners have been looking for a breakthrough that reduces feedstock costs, addresses waste glycerin disposal, eliminates caustics in the processing stream and reduces the environmental impact typically associated with producing biodiesel. The economic benefits of a solid catalyst refinery far exceed those of conventional refineries, dramatically increasing operating margins to create a major shift in how the world produces biodiesel.”

“You couldn’t ask for a better location for this facility than right here in the heart of soy country,” said James Galyen, a partner in Seymour Biofuels LLC. “The flexibility and simplicity of the Benefuel refinery will allow us to process a much broader range of feedstock in a much more profitable and environmentally friendly way. The glycerin commodity and use of local feedstock will make this plant a model for distributed fuel production. This brings our energy supply back home.”

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