Biodiesel Maker Tries New Technology to Score Credit

John Davis

A biodiesel maker is hoping that a new process will help it pry open some tight credit markets the biofuels industry has been facing lately.

This story from the Minneapolis Star Tribune
says that BioCat Fuels will use a process from its sister company, Minnesota-based EverCat Fuel, which has patented a process that converts waste fats and oils into biodiesel to build a 6 million-gallon-a-year refinery in Illinois:

BioCat wants to demonstrate that EverCat’s “Mcgyan” technology can economically produce biodiesel from non-edible substances, which the company says eventually will include oily forms of algae and weeds.
BioCat CEO Ric Larson, 63, is a former community banker who helped EverCat’s owners finance the Isanti plant. Larson said the time is ripe because dozens of soybean-to-fuel oil plants were shuttered in 2008-09, thanks to the combination of heavy debt and soybean prices that went through the roof during the commodity-price boom. Yet demand is growing, partly because of government mandates to increase production of renewable fuels.

“We can use U.S. Small Business Administration [loan guarantees],” Larson said. “It’s tough to find a bank to lend, because there are too many bad biodiesel and ethanol loans on their books. Ironically, the survivors are doing well because corn and soybean prices are down.”

The article goes on to say the Mcgyan process uses a metal-oxide catalyst inside a stainless-steel pressure vessel to refine fuel in a low-energy, continuous-flow process.