This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 22, 2007

Largest U.S. Biodiesel Facility Opens in Washington State


Photo of a biodiesel production plant. On the right side, a multilevel structure holds a complex of piping and vessels. Behind that, in the center of the photo, several small tanks are interconnected with pipes. Behind that, on the left side, are many large storage tanks.

The new Grays Harbor facility is the largest biodiesel production plant in the United States.
Credit: Imperium Renewables

Imperium Renewables officially opened the nation's largest biodiesel production plant on August 15th near Aberdeen, Washington, about 75 miles southwest of Seattle. The new facility in Grays Harbor has the capacity to produce 100 million gallons of biodiesel per year, which is greater than the entire U.S. production of biodiesel in 2005. The company produces biodiesel from a variety of oils, including canola oil grown within the state, as well as soybean oil and oils from "many other crops." The company is also committed to producing biodiesel that meets ASTM standards. See the press release from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the Web sites for Imperium Renewables and its Seattle subsidiary, Seattle Biodiesel.

Other large biodiesel plants have just started operating in Indiana and Michigan. Louis Dreyfus opened a facility in Claypool, Indiana, that has an annual production capacity of 88 million gallons. The facility will produce biodiesel from soybean oil and features an integrated facility for soybean crushing. And in Adrian, Michigan, NextDiesel opened a biodiesel plant with an annual production capacity of 20 million gallons per year. The plant can produce biodiesel from multiple feedstocks, including soybean and palm oil as well as chicken fat and beef tallow. As noted by Governor Jennifer Granholm, the facility is the first to be located within one of the state's ten Alternative Energy Renaissance Zones, which are virtually free from state taxes. See the NBB press release on the Indiana facility, aerial views of the facility on the Louis Dreyfus Claypool Web site, Governor Granholm's press release, and the NextDiesel Web site.

According to the NBB, there are now 148 biodiesel facilities in the United States, but most are small, with an average production capacity of 9.5 million gallons per year. That yields a total U.S. production capacity of 1.4 billion gallons per year. Another 96 plants are under construction, while five plants are being expanded, yielding another 1.9 billion gallons of biodiesel production capacity. The size of biodiesel facilities is trending upward, as the plants currently under construction average 19 million gallons per year in capacity. Biodiesel production surged to 250 million gallons in 2006, and NBB expects biodiesel production to reach 300 million gallons in 2007. See the NBB's summary of biodiesel production capacity (PDF 19 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

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