In Texas, Benefuel has completed agreements with Flint Hills Resources Renewables to develop biodiesel refineries in the United States using Benefuel’s patented ENSEL refining technology, which can improve profitability while also reducing resource consumption and waste. Benefuel and FHR have an exclusive agreement to develop and operate US-based biodiesel projects.
The joint venture, named Duonix, LLC, is actively developing the first project, which is a retrofit of the 50-million-gallon-per-year facility in Beatrice, Nebraska, which was acquired by FHR out of bankruptcy and has since been transferred to Duonix. The Beatrice plant will continue to be operated by FHR.
ITOCHU Corporation, one of Japan’s largest conglomerates and a current Benefuel shareholder, has invested in the Beatrice project as a strategic partner of Benefuel and as result of its own extensive technology validation efforts. In addition to the Beatrice Project, Benefuel and ITOCHU intend to develop international opportunities with a focus on Asia.
Benefuel’s ENSEL process enables the use of cheaper, high free fatty acid feedstocks, such as distillers corn oil from ethanol refining, waste-vegetable oils, animal fats and unrefined oils, without the usual processing penalty. This is achieved through ENSEL’s solid-acid-catalyst reactor, which combines esterification and transesterification into a single process step–a long-standing challenge for the biodiesel and oleo-chemical industries. The improved processing technology ensures that the final FAME stream meets both ASTM and European biodiesel standards.
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