Thar Receives $1.9 Mil Grant for Biodiesel Production

John Davis

tharlogo.jpgA Pittsburgh-based maker of supercritical fluids… replacements for solvent-based technologies in the pharmaceutical, food, chemical, and electronics industries… is getting some money to help improve the efficiency of biodiesel production.

This story from the Pittsburgh (PA) Tribune-Review says Thar Technologies, Inc. has received a $1.9 million grant from the National Institute of Science and Technologies:

Unlike most biodiesel-producing techniques, the new Thar process doesn’t use the hazardous air pollutant hexane to extract oil from oilseeds. Instead, the Thar process will use liquified carbon dioxide.

“We use carbon dioxide that we compress into a liquid and use that as a solvent in the process,” said Lalit Chordia, Thar’s CEO, during a news conference at the company’s operations center at Harmar to announce the federal grant. “Our process can use any source of oil, even oil shale and low (grades) of coal as a n oil source and convert it to biodiesel.”

The company says the process is profitable at $2.30 a gallon… and doesn’t even need the federal dollar-a-gallon subsidy to make money. Thar hopes to put up a 40-million-gallon-a-year biodiesel plant in Western Pennsylvania by 2010.