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Biodiesel Plant Headed For Houston

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Feb. 2, 2005, 4:40PM

Biodiesel plant headed for Houston

Associated Press

A Boston developer of renewable energy products is expected to break ground on a biodiesel plant at the Houston Ship Channel in April. ADVERTISEMENT

Natural Fuel & Energy president and chief executive Ronald Reilly said the $60 million facility, with a capacity of 36 million gallons a year, will the biggest biodiesel plant in the country.

Biodiesel is a renewable alternative fuel made from soybeans or other natural fats or oils. It also can be mixed with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend that burns more cleanly.

The biodiesel industry is well established in Europe, but began gaining strength in the U.S. through the 1990s, according to the National Biodiesel Board.

Reilly said U.S. biodiesel plants produce an average of 8 million gallons a year.

Jenna Higgins, a spokeswoman for the board, said the U.S. has about 20 biodiesel plants and another 20 planned. The board was unaware of the Natural Fuel & Energy project, but two plants planned for Minnesota are slated to have capacities of 25 to 30 million gallons a year, she said.

Reilly said the new Houston plant will be located at an existing storage tank terminal along the channel and should be operational in the second quarter of 2006.

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Good thing Bush and Cheney have pushed there energy plan through to allow more biodiesel plants to be built.

yeah, still this is just a drop in the bucket. 857,000 barrels seems like it would make dent in the energy needs of houston. but how many cars, households are using diesel?

i'm just concerned about pollution. as a fellow houstonian i am already breathing some of the country's dirtiest air ... what is the environmental impact of these plants?

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Deisel has become on par with gasoline as for a polution is concern. The environmental benefits to deisel is that it is the production of a fuel from waste. Deisel comes from the waste of production gasoline and many other oil based products. The US has been selling Deisel to Europe for years because its a waste and it is cheaper for them to buy than regular gasoline.

Deisel also has to be cleaned thoroughly to be used in consumer cars. Large trucks and construction equipment that use deisel have built in filter for the fuel. The filtering of deisel is where the increase cost comes in to use for cars.

The addition of this facility will allow the creation of additives that can be blended with standard deisel to make it more clean burning. The polution from this facility would be what you get when you burn soybeans, fats, and natural oils. It should smell more like a fast food restaurant and the pollution shouldn't be much harmful. In the end, the plant facility is to supplement the current deisel needs with cleaner burning deisel.

Also, my Bush/Cheney energy plan comment was a jab at environmentalist. They are completely opposed to any new fuel production facilities being built require the US to continue using old outdated facilities that pollute more. If the US would allow oil refineries to expand and update their facilities, these plants would produce less pollution. The oil companies want to expand and upgrade their plant facilities because the newer facilities would run much more efficiently. This would allow gasoline and the hundreds if of petroleum product we encounter daily to produced for a lower cost. An environmentalist objection to new fuel production facilities (even the biodeisel) is actually worse for the environment.

Similar concept for coal power plants. The coal industry has been clamoring for years that it needs to build new coal plant so that the old one can be dismantled. Some of the old ones can be upgraded. If this occurs, they can cleanly and efficiently burn coal.

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