Benefuel, Inc., a new-generation biodiesel refining and distribution company, announced today that it will build the world's first industrial-scale biodiesel refinery leveraging a novel solid catalyst that converts low-grade fats and vegetable oils into biodiesel.
The plant, planned to be located in Seymour, Ind., eliminates the need for water in the refining process and produces a market-ready glycerin by-product.
Benefuel, a Chicago-based manufacturer of the industry's most advanced biodiesel refinery, in partnership with Seymour Biofuels LLC, based in Indiana, plans to construct a 10-million gallon biodiesel plant that uses Benefuel's solid, acid catalyst. The catalyst, developed in collaboration with leading chemical engineers from India's prestigious National Chemical Laboratory, can turn virtually any vegetable oil or high free fatty acid (FFA) animal fat directly into biodiesel without 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."
Thanks to the unique nature of the Benefuel catalyst, the operators of the new Seymour plant will realize significant production savings through the purchase of the lowest-cost feedstock. As an added economic benefit, the glycerin by-product of the Seymour refinery will have an initial purity of more than 98%, making it market-ready for use in other applications.
"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 valuable glycerin commodity and use of local feedstock will make this plant a model for distributed fuel production. This brings our energy supply back home."
Benefuel, Inc. is a new-generation biodiesel refining and distribution company whose streamlined production process allows for distributed and scalable biodiesel plants that leverage local resources, enable cost advantages for producers and distributors, and facilitate expansion of the biofuels market. Benefuel's proprietary catalytic technology -- developed by a world-leading chemical engineering laboratory -- eliminates the need for washing biodiesel in the refining process and expands the range of viable feedstock options to include high FFA animal fats, crude vegetable oils and waste oils, thus reducing the environmental footprint of biodiesel production and ensuring consistent access to feedstock across developing markets. Benefuel's refining process yields a market-ready, 98% or higher, pure glycerin -- eliminating the crude glycerin waste stream typically found in biodiesel production today and generating significant additional revenue.
Seymour BioFuels LLC is a closely held renewable energy investment company. It has completed a feasibility study and plans to construct a new biodiesel facility in Seymour, Ind. Benefuel's patented technology will allow Seymour BioFuels to use multiple feedstocks and produce a premium, environmentally friendly source of energy. The city of Seymour was selected as the site for the plant because of its access to rail and interstate, as well as its access to local agriculture to be used for feedstock. Seymour BioFuels plans to market its end product to local distributors, thereby eliminating costs associated with bringing in fuel from outside sources. Seymour BioFuels is in the process of securing funding to begin construction of the new plant.