Jerry Ownby and Matt Flansburg are doing great things in the "Bio Fuel" field, in Arizona.
The concept is simple. Collect used vegetable oils from resturants, and make it usable fuel. They have taken what some make to seem like a hugely complicated task, have used simple equipment, and have turned it into a company that makes fuel, recycling products, and showing that the German rocket scientists of 1942 weren't the only ones with practical minded brains.
Ledge Biodiesel was formed as Atlas Bio, LLC in October 2006. The initial goal was to build small-scale processing equipment able to create government-grade fuel using vegetable oil otherwise designated as waste. It is the first biodiesel producer in Arizona to meet ASTMspecifications and be granted federal certification for the production, sale and distribution of this fuel. Utilizing prototype equipment, the processing capacity is 60 gallons per day,enough to supply our small fleet. The primary and current objective is to expand to an industrial scale, acquiring the necessary vegetable oil resources and processing infrastructure toproduce no less than 800 gallons of biodiesel per day. This business plan is a comprehensive analysis designed as an outline to guide Ledge Biodiesel and its interests into becoming a dominating entity in the green fuel industry.
As Matt Flansburg said: "We create federally recognized and regulated fuel from used vegetable oil. Among the many problems our business and fuel addresses, one in particular is faced by every major city in The United States. This problem is the seepage of used vegetable oil into the storm water and sewage drains. The current model of used vegetable oil collection and handling is prone to failure. According to Michael Golden, The Environmental Compliance Supervisor of the Water Utilities Department, mishandling of used vegetable oil costs taxpayers no less than $1,000,000 per year within the City of Tempe alone. Spilled and improperly handled vegetable oil clogs water and sewage lines and is an environmental and economic disaster. Our collection plan is the first solution to this issue. We are the first business entity toaddress this problem with an economically profitable solution. Our collection model is the first to gain endorsement from The City of Tempe Environmental Division and citation of approval from Tempe City Water Treatment. We are gaining City Council approval to implement ourplan on a massive citywide scale."
The current model in use by the majority of businesses around the city and state is much different and is prone to environmental and commercial hazards. The two biggest collection companies in Arizona, A-1 Restaurant Services and Baker, treat used vegetable oil as waste.
They currently charge businesses $20 - $200 per month and supply them with an open mouth, steel box, grease trap. These are readily seen in the back of restaurants and businesses around the city. They are typically black, they smell, they attract insects and vermin and areprone to contamination from refuse and water, and they have a common propensity to overflow due to improper handling and/or maintenance.
The reason why they smell is because they are open to the environment. Usually there is a trap door that is left open for businesses operating fryers to pour a 10-gallon pot of grease into. Being 4 feet off the ground, spillage is more the norm than the exception. The cityloathes this fact and concedes this design leads to inevitable storm water pollution. Restaurants and businesses despise the smell, sight, and general state of disgust that these containers cause them, their customers and visitors to the city. Every few weeks A-1 and/or Baker will bring a tanker truck to literally suck the waste out of these containers. By this time the content of the traps has become rotten and rancid.
"Our model minimizes spills." said Flansburg "Our 5-gallon heavy-duty containers can handle hot oil being poured directly into them. They are easy to wipe down and are re-sealable. They are resilient, and when closed properly, virtually spill-proof. For the businesses operating a fryer system, our model minimizes hazard, hassle and above all cost. No longer do restaurants and businesses have to pour hot grease into a 10-gallon or greater pot, allow it to cool then hand haul this container behind the restaurant to heave and pour this hot liquid into a metalbox. They simply fill, seal, wipe down and place our easy-to-handle containers aside. Each week they are swapped out. Above all,restaurants prefer our collection model because we provide our service and containers for free. When businesses comply with our basicvegetable oil standards and simple handling procedures and they can enjoy long-term contract with us. Our collection model almost guarantees that our raw vegetable oil source is virtuallycontamination free. Water contamination is a major problem in biodiesel production. Trash and refuse is another. Because our containers are sealed immediately upon receiving used vegetable oil from fryers, we minimize any additional contamination. The City winsthe pollution and spillage battle, any business saves money and adopts a cleaner and safer waste handling system, Ledge Biodiesel wins by securing a valuable commodity to be processed into a legitimate fuel which is then sold back to the community."
Ledge Biodiesel is the second phase of development for Atlas Bio, LLC. The first phase was the development and creation of a small-scale, modular biodiesel processing system capable of successfully creating government grade, ASTM D6751 fuel from used vegetable oil feedstocks.
Having done so, and having acquired the necessary federal tax documents to produce and sell biodiesel in Arizona, Atlas Bio, LLC is poised for the next stage of development. This document summarizes the research and development of Atlas Bio, LLC over the past year andpaves the way for a profitable, medium scale biodiesel operation called Ledge Biodiesel to be built in Tempe, Arizona."
"Our development team consists of three individuals with a combined 13 years of biodiesel experience. Matthew Flansburg leads the team and has been working non-stop for 14 months to build the model to its current state. Professor David Conz is a PhD, faculty member of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Arizona State University. David is considered to be the leading biodiesel expert in the State with 6 years of hands-on experience. Michael Sarin, Engineer, met David Conz at the National Biodiesel Conference in 2001. He owns and operates a local engineering firm and also has 6 years of active biodiesel experience in addition to his manufacturing and accounting experience of 23 years."
ON TO BIGGER THINGS!
Phase II, Ledge Biodiesel will build and operate a 250,000 gallon per year (250Kgy) biodiesel facility. This biodiesel will be the first major producer of this fuel in Arizona and it will be the first biodiesel facility in the United States that focuses on a renewable used vegetable oil infrastructure.
The goal is to capture and integrate all available natural resources to build our foundation. Specifically, biodiesel production requires vegetable oil.
"We are strategically located in the heart of a huge municipality. Our vegetable oil sources surround us. Ledge biodiesel has two reliable methods of acquiring our raw product. Firstis the direct collection of used vegetable oil from local restaurants, grocery stores, stadiums, hotels and other facilities that use vegetable oil for fryers. The second is the outsourcing of used vegetable oil from an established oil collection company called Restaurant Technologies.
This two-fold approach maximizes output of product and facilitates growth by virtue of being in operation and establishing itself as a visionary and valuable business within the community. We do not rely on the virgin oil market for our raw product and therefore are not susceptible to the volatile economic swings associated with virgin oil commodities."
To understand what biodiesel is, you must understand the basic biodiesel processing requirements. The chemical formula necessitates:
1. A vegetable oil like canola, soy, peanut, sunflower, etc.
2. An alcohol, namely methanol (methyl alcohol a derivative of natural gas) and
3. A catalyst, either potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. Vegetable oils are mostly glycerides. Any vegetable oil will do. Glycerides are long carbon chains.
"Our processing uses used vegetable oil sources, typically soy but additional sources have been canola, peanut and cottonseed. We process these oils through mechanical filters to 5-microns then heat the oil to 135° Fahrenheit."
Depending on the stoichiometry of the oils, the reaction necessitates 10-13% methanol and a specific proportion of catalyst to drive the biodiesel reaction forward. After 98% conversion of glycerides to esters, the biodiesel reaction, or transestrification, has occurred. The resultantproduct is fatty acid methyl esters and glycerine. Fatty acid methyl esters are shorter chain carbon strings that are commonly referred to as biodiesel. After separation of biodiesel from glycerine, methanol recovery occurs. Glycerine undergoes a simple refinement. Crude biodiesel is purified through ion exchange. The final product, tested against ASTM D6751, is deemed government-grade biodiesel fuel.
Ledge Biodiesel believes in a renewable fuel philosophy. When executed properly, this proves to be a more stable, more efficient and more profitable alternative fuel venture. This business plan is a two-pronged, benchmark based system. Benchmark A focuses on the capture and collection of used vegetable oil from businesses. When contracts and actual collection amounts to 10,000 gallons per month, roughly 200 restaurants, the group will have achieved Benchmark A.
"Benchmark B is the construction and operation of our 250Kgy biodiesel facility. Having a stockpile of used vegetable oil from Benchmark A and the constant flow of vegetable oil from our established sources we will successfully operate the first legal and legitimate biodieselfacility in Arizona history."
For more information contact:
- Matthew Flansburg
- ATLAS BIO, LLC