A Nebraska biodiesel plant is being taken over by a group that includes a Japanese investor. Benefuel Inc., with shares held by Tokyo-based conglomerate ITOCHU Corp., and Flint Hills Resources Renewables, LLC, owned by Koch Industries, have inked an agreement to develop biodiesel refineries in using Benefuel’s patented ENSEL® refining technology:
The joint venture, named Duonix, LLC, is actively developing the first project, which is a retrofit of the 50-million-gallon-per-year facility in Beatrice, Nebraska, which was acquired by FHR out of bankruptcy and has since been transferred to Duonix. The Beatrice plant will continue to be operated by FHR.
“After significant validation of the Benefuel technology, we are looking forward to demonstrating its commercial application and the competitive advantage we expect it will offer,” said Jeremy Bezdek, managing director, Innovation, FHR. “We are excited to partner with Benefuel to bring this next-generation biofuels technology to market.”
Officials from both companies say Benefuel’s ENSEL method will allow for cheaper, high free fatty acid (FFA) feedstocks, such as distillers corn oil from ethanol refining, waste-vegetable oils, animal fats and unrefined oils, without the usual processing penalty, letting the refinery be profitable.