US Imperium to restart biodiesel refinery "soon"

08 February 2010 23:24  [Source: ICIS news]

GRAPEVINE, Texas (ICIS news)--US major biodiesel producer Imperium Renewables will restart its 100m gal/year Grays Harbor refinery in Washington "soon," the company said on Monday.

Todd Ellis, Imperium's business development manager, declined to give an exact date for the planned re-start, but said he expected the refinery would be up in "the near term" after an explosion on 2 December forced the company to take the plant off line. Ellis was speaking from the sidelines of the 2010 National Biodiesel Conference in Grapevine. 

Also on the company's agenda is to convince the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA
to widen its list of approved biodiesel feedstocks. Currently, the agency states that biodiesel made with waste grease, animal fats and soy beans qualify under its updated renewable fuel standards (RFS2), which call for 1bn gal/year of biodiesel to be blended into the nation's fuel supply by 2012.

However, that same rule says nothing about biodiesel from canola and camilla oils, which Imperium mainly uses as a feedstock.

"If they don't come out with some clarity on feedstocks, it could have some potential effects," Ellis said. 

While Imperium has the ability to blend various feedstocks, its location in the Pacific northwest gives it close access to canola and camillia oils.

The company was mainly serving Canada, which has a mandate that diesel fuel retailers sell blends of B5, or 5% biodiesel and 95% traditional diesel. With RFS2, Imperium will shift its focus to the US, Ellis said.

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By: Ben Lefebvre
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