NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Delray Beach, FL, United States, 2009/06/30 - AG-Oil to collaborate with United Environment and Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, University of Florida and the University of Southern Illinois to build and operate a pilot-scale non-food oilseed biodiesel & algae based integrated refinery.
Ag-Oil Announces Plan to Build and Operate a Pilot-Scale Non-Food Oilseed Biodiesel Production Facility and Algae-based Integrated Biorefinery Ag-Oil, has announced its plan to work with United Environment and Energy (UEE), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), University of Florida (UF), and the University of Southern Illinois (SIU) to build and operate a pilot-scale non-food oilseed biodiesel production facility and algae-based integrated biorefinery that will convert Jatropha seeds, algae, and related by-products into biodiesel (B100). The pilot facility along with a Jatropha plantation will be situated on a 103 acre facility in Delray Beach, FL.
Ag-Oil will develop a state-of-the-art biofuel refinery and a commercial scale oilseed processing facility on their existing Jatropha plantation. This project has the potential to yield an annual capacity of 15 million gallons of bio-diesel while utilizing production equipment which easily processes multiple feedstocks. “The continuous flow technology developed by UEE to produce algae biodiesel and other non-food oilseed based biodiesel will allow for faster and cheaper production of bio-diesel,” said Ben Wen, Vice President of UEE. “We will also be implementing ANL’s glycerin desalinization process which will ensure successful long-term recycling of the water and increase overall fuel production by about 10%. We have partnered with some of the best minds in this field. We are confident that when we are fully operational we will be able to deliver an innovative and cost-effective bio-diesel fuel that is also environmentally friendly,” Teri Gevinson, CEO of Ag-Oil summarized.
The use of algae technology in this project is a large part of what makes it a tremendous bio-diesel advancement. Alongside the UEE technology, Ag-Oil (ag-oil.com) will be partnering with Dr. Yanna Liang from SIU to implement continuous culture research which has the potential to significantly increase the output from the Jatropha seed oil conversion to bio-diesel. Ag-Oil anticipates utilizing a patented technology that will allow augmentation of biofuel output by as much as 60% using the same oilseed feedstock input by recycling biomass that is ordinarily considered waste material. “Using algae for this purpose potentially holds several distinct advantages, Liang said. First, algae can provide at least 30 times as much lipids per acre as corn, meaning less space can be devoted to this purpose. Also, using algae would reduce the competition for other oil seeds -- such as corn and soybeans.”
It is through these innovative technologies and partnerships that Ag-Oil announces today that they are applying for a U.S. Department of Energy grant to assist in financing the project. With current economic conditions, this project has the potential to be beneficial on many levels. In accordance with President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, all components of this project – including construction activities, operations of the facility, and production of biofuel are fully ready for rapid project implementation.
This project will affect the entire value chain from farming to retail delivery by providing new high paying jobs and generating strong economic activity as well as producing biofuels that produce 82-85% lower greenhouse gas emissions than other petroleum-based products. It is projected that this facility will create 276 direct job positions and 2,741 indirect jobs over the course of 5-years. Once completed and fully operational, the biofuel facility and feedstock propagation activities will maintain an estimated 128 direct jobs and 915 indirect jobs annually. The majority of the capital investment for this project will be spent within the state of Florida on construction and engineering, and staff will be recruited locally.
With tough times hitting Florida’s farmers, from high fertilizer costs to citrus canker and citrus greening new agriculture opportunities are sorely needed. Jatropha has the potential to be a savior for farmers while also providing Florida with huge economic opportunities, improved air quality and public health and the opportunity to help the US gain energy independence. Current reaction from Economists, University Professors and Entrepreneurs regarding growing Jatropha in the US has drawn concern due to the manual labor harvest that is presently required. Jatropha is already successful in foreign farming where manual labor is much less expensive and where the agricultural environment for hand picking is more common. However, Ag-Oil has identified and demonstrated a mechanical harvester for Jatropha. Ag-Oil’s plantation will be harvested with this new technology which makes Jatropha planting in the United States a viable and economically stimulating alternative for farmers everywhere but specifically in Florida. Additionally, the creation of the Ag-Oil biodiesel processing facility will provide farmers with the assurance that there is a means to bring their Jatropha crop to market.