Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Imperium says new plant slashes cost of biodiesel production

Imperium Renewables is launching a biodiesel plant claimed to be capable of making 100 million gallons of fuel per year. It's the first in a series of large plants coming from Imperium and others over the next few years. The cost of materials is very high in producing biodiesel. It takes 7.35 pounds of degummed soybean oil to make 1 gallon of biodiesel. Calculating this out, the price for the raw materials is $2.50 per gallon making it a higher price than regular diesel from fossil fuel sources. Government subsidies help alleviate the cost.

This means the companies investing in building biodiesel production plants are having to be ingenious in order to make ends meet.

The U.S. Department of Energy has a paper, Biodiesel Performance, Costs, and Use giving some interesting raw data to mull over.

Tyson, ConocoPhillips link up for biodiesel discusses a plan by Tyson to use animal waste from their processing plants to make biodiesel. Of course, being Tyson, they have lots of left over animal parts, right? The estimate above of $2.50 per gallon for the raw materials is assuming it's derived from soybeans. There are other ways to get suitable raw materials such as animal parts in food processing plants.

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