Grant expected for mobile biofuel producer

A Santa Barbara company that has developed a mobile biodiesel plant appears close to winning a California Energy Commission grant to further its technology.

Biodiesel Industries Inc. announced Tuesday that it had been selected for a $886,815 grant under the state's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.

For the past seven years the company says it has worked with the U.S. Navy under a Cooperative Research & Development Agreement to "design, develop and deploy modular biodiesel production systems capable of processing the widest possible array of feedstocks."

The Biofuel Production Plants grant would provide funding to develop California-based biofuel plants and enhance existing plants with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the company says. Funding is contingent on other projects.

Biodiesel Industries' centerpiece is its ARIES Bioenergy Project. ARIES stands for automated real-time remote integrated energy system and networks the various components of biofuel production. Under the grant, officials say "the system will be adapted to fully integrate algaculture, anaerobic digestion of waste products and self-generated combined heat and power."

Russell Teall, president and founder of Biodiesel Industries, said, "The work that will be conducted under this grant will have broad-based implications in both the military and civilian sectors. Energy independence has positive economic, security and environmental impacts that apply to U.S. domestic conditions, to Forward Operating Bases in Afghanistan, to impoverished rural areas in emerging economies.

"There is a global effect from creating renewable, sustainable energy systems."

Work primarily will take place at Naval Base Ventura County at Port Hueneme, Calif.

Photo: Biodiesel Industries Inc. portable production unit.