Oregon’s first biodiesel production facility completes massive expansion, technology upgrade
Increased capacity means lower prices for local consumers of biodiesel
The SeQuential-Pacific Biodiesel (SQPB) facility in Salem, OR completed a major expansion this fall, with a new annual capacity of five million gallons, up from one million gallons. The grand opening event was held in late August, with partner Willie Nelson showing up to promote the new facility, and production actually began the first of November.
As a result of the increase in supply, biodiesel prices in the region are dropping quickly from summertime highs. Biodiesel prices surged in prior months as a result of volatile commodity markets and increased demand for biofuels, but have recently fallen ~ 20% throughout the region from a high of $5.75 at the peak, down to $4.50 today.
The Salem plant converts primarily used cooking oil from restaurants and food processors in Oregon and Washington, such as Burgerville and Kettle Foods, into biodiesel. Ninety percent of SQPB’s biodiesel comes from used cooking oil.
SQPB has also contracted to purchase locally-grown canola and camelina oil for biodiesel production. The crops are grown in Eastern and Western Oregon, in sustainable rotation with wheat and grass seed crops. According to local farmers, rotationally grown crops break pest cycles, replenish soil and increase yields.
In further pursuit of sustainability, the new SQPB facility uses a proprietary biodiesel production process that eliminates the use of water by utilizing dry wash technology for product purification and recaptures methanol from what was a previous waste stream. This new recycling technology reduces the need for process methanol by 50%. In addition, the byproducts of biodiesel production are now refined glycerin and fertilizer.
The new, improved SQPB plant was encouraged by the state’s commitment to decreased reliance on fossil fuels, green collar job creation and reducing the state’s carbon footprint. Six months after in-state production reaches its five million gallons per year capacity using raw materials from the Pacific Northwest, the statewide RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard) included in the Biofuels Bill (HB 2210) will be enacted. The RFS will increase annual demand for biodiesel by approximately 10 million gallons, totaling nearly twenty million gallons of biodiesel per year.
SeQuential-Pacific Biodiesel is a joint venture between SeQuential Biofuels (SQbiofuels.com) and Pacific Biodiesel (biodiesel.com). The SQPB facility employs 12 employees.
Tyson Keever 503.585.1673