Company Plans to Build First Biodiesel Plant in Schuylkill
by Stephen J. Pytak (RepublicanHerald.com) A company is planning to start up the first biodiesel plant in Schuylkill County, which will convert food waste oil into biodiesel fuel.
Borough officials have been in talks with NAGSCO Corp., which is working with Liberty Oil, Port Carbon, on the project.
NAGSCO Corp. started operations two years ago in Darien, Conn., and also has an office in Westchester, N.Y., according to Al Domizio, Bridgeport, Conn., a partner in the firm.
Council members and the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority are wondering what impact it might have locally, especially because the plant will be close to two community playgrounds.
There are nine biodiesel plants in Pennsylvania. Of them, seven are currently in operation, said Nicole Bucher, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which monitors biodiesel production the state.
Those in operation, according to Bucher, are: American Biodiesel Energy, Erie; Eagle Biodiesel, Kane; Keystone BioFuels Inc., Camp Hill; Lake Erie Biofuels, Erie; Mother Earth Energy, Chester; Pennsylvania Biodiesel, Monaca, and United Oil Co., Pittsburgh.
Those not in operation, according to Bucher, include Middletown Biofuels, Middletown, and Soy Energy Inc., Oxford.
…The processing plant is being set up in a three-bay garage at 2 Main St., Domizio said.
The proposal given to Port Carbon council Tuesday, outlines the “transesterification process” NAGSCO is planning to employ:
- A number of storage tanks will be built on site. Alcohol will be stored in its own 20,000-gallon tank outside the proposed facility. Feedstock material will be stored in a 10,000-gallon tank located inside the facility. Sodium hydroxide, in a flake/powder form, will be stored in a designated area inside the building. A single 300 gallon mixing tank will be used to combine sodium hydroxide and alcohol.
- Four separate 1,000-gallon reaction tanks will be built on site.
- The feedstock will include “non-cellulosic portions of separated food waste, fats, oils, greases,” according to the proposal. Methanol/ethanol and sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye, will also be used in the process. “The ingredients for the process will be stored on site in a manner, which will isolate them when not in process, to avoid any reaction exposure and/or potential safety hazards,” according to the proposal.
- During the process, 750 gallons of feedstock will be put into each tank, along with alcohol and a catalyst solution.
- A “typical” batch will yield approximately 750 gallons of biodiesel per reaction, with four operating reactors, according to the proposal.
“To start, we’ll be able to do four batches a day, which would roughly mean a truckload every two days,” Domizio said. READ MORE