Seattle Biofuels announced that it has received venture capital financing to be used for national expansion, claiming that they have innovative technology, with the goal of producing biodiesel cheaper than petroleum diesel. The following is from their press release.
Seattle BioFuels, Inc., a leader in next generation Biodiesel process technology, today announced it closed a $7.5 million Preferred Series A investment from leading venture investors including Nth Power, Technology Partners and Vulcan Capital. The financing will be used for national expansion, with plans to accelerate commercialization of innovative process technology, open a new biodiesel refinery and oil seed-crushing oil facility in the second half of 2006. ....
Seattle BioFuels has developed a proprietary Pulse Reactor(R), Active Methanol Recovery System(R), and an Adsorbent Enhanced Polishing Process(R) along with other improvements to the Biodiesel production process. The company built its first commercial scale refinery operating as Seattle Biodiesel providing 5 million gallons per year capacity to the Northwest market. ....
The mission of Seattle BioFuels is to develop and deploy technology innovations that enable a gallon of biodiesel to be produced cheaper than a gallon of petroleum diesel. Seattle BioFuels operates the Seattle refinery as a wholly owned subsidiary under the name Seattle Biodiesel, LLC.
I would like to know exactly what is involved with their proprietary technology and how much it reduces their cost. The biodiesel industry really needs a boost to reduce their cost so that they compete without subsidies. Of course if petroleum diesel prices are high enough that is not a problem. Reading their website, at least some of their production is or will come from canola which makes better use of land than soybeans. They plan on building a crushing plant for locally grown canola, rather than importing soybean oil from the midwest. Their is not enough land to produce enough seed oil for a significant portion of our diesel requirements and biodiesel from algae probably will not be significant in the next ten years. The only very high volume means of replacing petroleum diesel is with Fischer-Tropsch diesel from biomass (BTL), which remains more expensive than biodiesel. Finding a good gasifier seems to be the holdup on this route. The Shell-Choren venture in Europe, using the Choren gasifier, is the only organization actively pursuing this option and they are still a few years away from a demonstration plant.
Northwest's Premier Bio-Fuel Company Secures Resources for National Expansion, Press release, January 17, 2006
Seattle Biodiesel, LLC, Seattle, Washington, USA
Seattle Biofuels Blog
Seattle Diesel set to Expand, Seattlepi.com, January, 16, 2005