Officials from Chrysler and the NextDiesel refinery in Adrian, Michigan are calling for better standards for biodiesel and more oily feedstocks to make the green fuel.
This story from the Adrian (MI) Daily Telegram says the officials discussed the issue during a tour of the plant this week:
Right now NextDiesel, which started production in August at its facility on West Beecher Road, mostly uses soybean oil and some food grease in making its fuel. Soybean oil has advantages over animal fats, mostly that it has no fatty acids that have to be removed before the fuel is made, NextDiesel chief executive officer Terry Nosan said.
However, a soybean only contains about 18 percent oil, NextDiesel chief financial officer Michael Horowitz said. Research is being done to find a feedstock that both yields more oil and is not also used as food. Horowitz said the poisonous jatropha plant from India is a possibility, as is algae. Company co-owner Brad Schram said algae could be made in a laboratory at the plant, creating a renewable feedstock on-site.
The folks from Chrysler say they need certain quality standards to approve the biodiesel for their vehicles. The two companies have been working together on research and development for biodiesel production. Chrysler is also involved with the NextEnergy organization at Wayne State University in Detroit researching alternative energy.