Sunday, May 21, 2006

Biodiesel around the World

This page describes the use and availability of Biodiesel in various countries around the world. More information on biodisel can be found at the Biodiesel page.

Biodiesel Plants

A list of biodiesel plants in the world [Link]

Cavalier County: Investors research plant for biodiesel

With 180,000 acres planted last year, Cavalier County was the largest grower of canola in the state.

So, it's only logical that it would be a fitting location for a biodiesel plant that uses canola.

That is precisely the hope of potential investors who are investigating that possibility. Northern Prairie EnviroFuels L.L.C. has hired a Bismarck-based engineering firm to conduct a study of building a 'locally owned, high-capacity' biodiesel plant that uses canola as its feedstock.

The facility likely will be built in Cavalier County, which grows more than 20 percent of the state's canola.

The investors officially aren't known, because Northern Prairie isn't registered with the state's Secretary of State office, and representatives want to keep the names confidential. It's a mix of farmers and businessmen, said Mark Luther, the representative of the engineering firm of Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, which is doing the study.

Tom Borgen, a Langdon farmer and secretary-treasurer of Northern Canola Growers, said his group isn't involved. He said there are two independent investor groups involved, one from the Munich-Langdon area and one from the Hallock, Minn., area.

Bryan Anderson, senior vice president of the First State Bank of Munich, said more information will be released after the feasibility study. 'We're in the early stages, so we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves,' he said.

Luther said a plant could be operational as early as the fall of 2007.

'We're real optimistic that the feasibility study will turn out good,' he said. 'It's our hopes that we would have the capital raised and would start construction by this fall. That way, the farmers will know by spring if they can plant extra acres and have a plant available for their crop.'

He said the investors' group has been in the planning stages for more than a year, with his firm coming on board in the past month. Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson have been involved in the building of biodiesel plants in North Dakota and Montana.

The feasibility study will look at sites, quality and quantity of feedstocks, labor force and transportation.

Canola has become the preferred stock for biodiesel because it performs better than soybeans, Borgen said. Canola has properties that perform better in colder temperatures, he said. It also has twice as much oil content as soybeans, meaning factories have to handle only half of the product.

'All of the attributes that make a good, healthy oil also made a good biodiesel,' Borgen said.

There's a third reason, Luther said.

'Canola-based is the only one that meets European specifications,' he said. 'We want to have that option. If the local market isn't large enough, we want the option to export.'

Luther said production and employment levels are still uncertain and dependent upon the study. A benchmark might be the Archer Daniels Midland Co. plant in Velva, N.D., which broke ground in April and will make 85 million gallons of biodiesel annually from canola. The Velva plant, which will employ 12 people full-time, will use about 1 million acres of canola each year.

North Dakota's entire canola acreage last year was 850,000 acres.