Biodiesel Refinery Idled by Ike Back On Line

John Davis

Back in early September, Hurricane Ike roared ashore on the Texas Gulf Coast as the third most destructive hurricane ever to strike the U.S. A biodiesel refinery in the Houston area that was part of the destruction (see my post from Sep. 29, 2008) has finally recovered and is back on line.

GreenHunter Biofuels has announced in this press release that biodiesel production has started once again:

Located along the Shipping Channel in Houston, Texas, the Company’s biodiesel refinery, one of the country’s largest, sustained a direct hit from Hurricane Ike in mid-September of 2008. Plant debugging had just been completed and the facility was beginning to ramp up production after its original startup in mid-June, prior to the damages caused by the hurricane. Prior to Hurricane Ike, the Company had announced achieving processing rate mileposts of 50% and subsequently 65% of nameplate capacity.

The Company expects to continue its use of 100 percent animal fats (poultry fat and beef talloy) as its primary feedstock, although the GreenHunter BioFuels Refinery is “feedstock neutral” and has used five different varieties of feedstock (vegetable oils and animal fats) to date.

As you might remember from this photo (on right), the plant had 12 feet of water roll through but Bruce Baughman, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Technology, stated, “The approximate 12 feet of floodwater from Hurricane Ike took out a significant amount of electrical equipment, electronic instruments and control devices that have now been replaced and repaired over the last eight weeks. In the same period we have repaired process piping, pumps, intermediate tanks and bulk storage tanks that were damaged by flood waters.”

There’s still plenty of work to do at the plant, and officials anticipate some more bugs along the way, but they expect to be up to 50 percent capacity in the net month.