The Biodico Westside bioenergy facility is now in production in San Joaquin Valley, California. Biodico President and Rounder Russ Teall says the 20 million gallon-per-year biodiesel facility is the first world’s first fully sustainable liquid biofuel facility.
“Biodico Westside Facility is a result of years of research and development to produce biofuels that make good environmental, social and business sense,” said Teall during the commissioning event. “Today, we are forging a new path in biofuel production by utilizing sustainable solutions to convert diverse feedstocks into renewable sources of fuel and energy.”
Biodico Westside is located at Red Rock Ranch in Five Points, Calif., which is in one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions. According to Biodico, the facility operates entirely on renewable heat and power and incorporates advanced real-time and remote monitoring leading to complete system automation. In addition to processing multi-feedstocks, including used cooking oil, vegetable oil, and animal fats to name a few, the facility also utilizes anaerobic digestion, gasification and an advanced utility scale solar cogeneration system.
“We developed proprietary technology to greatly enhance the economics of producing high-quality biodiesel, as well as create a modular system that is easy to deploy on a global scale,” said JJ Rothgery, Biodico’s board chair. “The facility is uniquely designed to meet the practical needs of regional transportation companies, and at the same time, provide a solution to address energy security and sustainable farming practices.”
The development of Biodico Westside was supported, in part, by grants from the California Energy Commission and in collaboration with the U.S. Navy, UC Davis, UCSB and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In addition, many of the jobs at Biodico Westside were created in partnership with West Hills Community College, a region with high unemployment rates. Biodico developed an internship program specifically for West Hills and hires graduates of their two-year Industrial Technology Program, which gives many farm laborers higher skills and more lucrative employment says Teall.
Biodico’s new facility also addresses energy security with its modular construction and ease of deployment according to Teall. These characteristics are particularly relevant, he says, to the U.S. Navy. And agricultural sustainability is another focal point for Biodico’s facility, which is helping farmers dispose of wood prunings, converting them into sources of renewable heat and power. Utilities are renewing contracts with fewer biomass power plants in California, leaving farmers in a lurch for processing orchard and vineyard waste.
Undersecretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Jim Houston, added regarding bioenergy facility, “I think about the narrative of agriculture and my kids – I have a three-year-old son and five-year-old daughter – and when they’re 25 what will agriculture look like in the Valley and state of California? And seeing federal, state, local, private, and academic entities come together with Biodico to create this infrastructure with long-lasting, great jobs, is very exciting.”