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Idaho on tap for first ‘bio-refinery in a box’

The California-based BioFuelBox Corporation plans to bring its first “bio-refinery in a box” to Idaho this coming January, according to a report in the Sacramento Business Journal.

The idea behind the “in a box” concept is to create a standardized bio-refinery system in a single container that can be shipped to and installed wherever the feedstock for refining — in this case, food and animal processing waste — is located.

BioFuelBox says it’s focused on “redefining the way biofuels are made.” Its feedstock of choice is sludge, the fatty stuff found in wastewater and effluent from animal rendering plants. Right now, much of that stinky stuff is sent off to landfills, but BioFuelBox says its system can convert it into odorless and road-ready biodiesel.

BioFuelBox CEO Steven Perricone tells the Sacramento Business Journal that potential sludgy fuel source is currently available to the tune of about 6 billion gallons each year, but that no one’s tapping it right now because it’s not refinable with traditional biofuel processes.

“Nobody buys the brown sludge these guys are pursuing,” Jon Guice, managing director of research at the green-tech research firm AltaTerra, told the publication.

BioFuelBox’s Website adds, “Not only can our system be moved to where the feedstocks are, cutting down on the expense of trucking feedstocks to the refinery, but also, our unique patent-pending biodiesel process technology enables you to process traditionally undesirable feedstock such as waste algae or other high FFA (free fatty acid) waste content into biodiesel.”

The company has tested a prototype of its system in Arkansas — home to, the Sacramento Business Journal notes, Tyson Foods — but the coming Idaho installation would be the first commercially-focused production plant.

And, considering the feedstock source, no one can accuse BioFuelBox of trading food for fuel. Mmmm, sludge.

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