Benefuel secures land at Sarnia bio-industrial park

Paul Morden – The Sarnia Observer, January 20, 2019

Benefuel, a company seeking to build a biodiesel refinery in Sarnia, has secured a site at the Arlanxeo bio-industrial park on Vidal Street.

Benefuel has been looking at Sarnia as the potential site for a plant capable of producing 75 million litres of biodiesel a year.

Sarnia-based Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, a government-funded not-for-profit, provided Benefuels with funding last year to support an engineering study for the project the company previously said it wanted to build by 2020.

Benefuel said the commercial-scale plant would employ 40 workers but the company has not released an estimate of the cost to build the refinery.

“Benefuel has begun engineering at the Sarnia facility and have secured the land for the project,” CEO Rob Tripp said in an e-mail.

“We are currently fundraising now and if successful, we will proceed with the project.”

Tripp said Benefuel has successfully commercialized its patented process for manufacturing low carbon biodiesel and bio-lubricants from waste feedstocks, such a used cooking oil and byproducts from ethanol refining.

It has demonstrated the process at a biodiesel refinery in Nebraska for more than the last two years, he said.

“We are looking to leverage this success in the key low carbon markets, namely Canada, the U.S. and the EU.”

The company’s shareholders include Suncor and Koch Industries.

Benefuel previously said the Sarnia area’s industrial infrastructure, services, contractors and industrial module fabricators make it a good fit for the company.

In December, Benefuel announced that in response to British Columbia’s climate change plan, including an expanded low carbon fuel standard (LCFS,) the company has begun searching for a site to build a 150-million-litre-per-year production plant in that province.

“We are aggressively looking to grow our business through additional projects, with B.C. being our next targeted project,” Tripp said.

“As Benefuel can produce one of the lowest carbon fuels in the market today, the markets that provide us the higher return are ones like B.C. or California, and hopefully soon, all of Canada.”

Arlanxeo’s bio-industrial park in Sarnia is the location of the former BioAmber plant purchased recently by LCY Biosciences. It’s also where California-based Origin Materials is building a plant.

pmorden@postmedia.com

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