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  • Applied Research Associates Inc.

Applied Research Associates’ 1st commercial HCU Pretreat unit operating in Montana

International research and engineering company Applied Research Associates Inc. announced June 1 the successful startup of the first commercial Hydrothermal Cleanup feedstock-pretreatment unit (HCU Pretreat) at Montana Renewables in Great Falls, Montana.

“This groundbreaking unit is the next generation in the pretreatment of fat, oil, and grease (FOG) feedstocks, offering a simple, refinery-friendly process with the capability to clean up the most challenging feedstocks for further conversion to renewable fuels,” ARA stated.

Commercial operation of the 420,000-gallon-per-day unit signifies “a major step forward,” according to ARA, “as HCU Pretreat provides a comprehensive solution for pretreating waste fat, oil and grease feedstocks with near 100 percent yield of clean, organic product.”

Chuck Red, vice president at ARA, expressed his enthusiasm for this milestone achievement.

“The successful startup of our first commercial HCU Pretreat unit marks a significant achievement for ARA,” he said. “We are proud to collaborate with Montana Renewables to bring this game-changing technology to commercial scale. They have engineered and built a world-class pretreatment system.”

Bruce Fleming, CEO of Montana Renewables, added, “We are pleased to be first to commercialize this next-generation technology. The implementation of ARA’s HCU Pretreat unit allows us to optimize our sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel operations and expand our feedstock choices with lower-cost, reduced carbon-intensity feedstocks. This is a substantial competitive advantage.”

ARA said it has been developing innovative water-based fuels technologies for over 15 years.

HCU Pretreat is ARA’s patented technology that utilizes an innovative turbulent flow, high-temperature, water-based process to reduce phosphorus, metals, chlorine and polyethylene in FOG feedstocks.

Operating at a short residence time, the system hydrolyzes complex contaminant molecules and reduces inorganic content.

With the smooth commissioning and start-up of this innovative technology, ARA said Montana Renewables has unlocked access to a wide array of low carbon-intensity feedstocks for its sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel production.

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