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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

BDI’s RepCat process comes online at Crimson biodiesel plant in Bakersfield, California

Updated: Apr 15, 2022

Crimson Renewable Energy's new RepCat biodiesel processing center in Bakersfield, California (Photo: BDI-BioEnergy International)

A major, innovative biodiesel project at Crimson Renewable Energy in Bakersfield, California, has just been completed. A media event and plant tour were held April 14.

The biodiesel producer first announced in November 2017 it had contracted with Austria-based BDI-BioEnergy International to build a new biodiesel plant alongside its existing facility that BDI had just retrofitted and upgraded a year prior. The new process line incorporates BDI’s RepCat technology, which stands for “repeatable (or recyclable) catalyst.” In addition to increasing Crimson Renewable Energy’s annual production capacity by 13 million gallons at the Bakersfield site, the new technology allows the facility to process the lowest-quality waste material into high-quality biodiesel. The plant will mainly operate with waste oils and fats collected in the local region, especially from metro areas in the central and southern part of the state. The feedstock will be sourced from restaurants, industrial kitchens and food processors, and rendering facilities.

A ribbon cutting at Crimson was held April 14 (Photo: BDI-BioEnergy International)

BDI developed and patented the RepCat process approximately 15 years ago. “As a builder of special processing plants, it’s our mission to use our innovative technologies for a better environment,” said Markus Dielacher, CEO of BDI-BioEnergy International. “We are not just developing processes for safe utilization of waste oils and fats, but we are helping the world get closer to climate targets.”

Maximizing feedstock flexibility with its retrofit program, BDI’s RepCat technology makes biodiesel production more efficient and more sustainable. Compared to conventional processes, the developers say it is exceptionally flexible in terms of the kinds of feedstocks the process can accept. This makes production more economical because a great variety of lowest-value waste can be fully exploited.

Dielacher, left, and Simpson (Photo: BDI-BioEnergy International)

“With this newest generation of biodiesel plant, we can respond to any changes in raw material availability and achieve the maximum possible flexibility,” said Harry Simpson, CEO of Crimson Renewable Energy. “BDI has been a terrific partner and its RepCat technology is on track to produce a bit over 13 million new gallons for us per year, removing an additional 135,000 metric tons of carbon annually.”

Crimson Renewable Energy’s total production capacity in Bakersfield is now more than 37 million gallons per year (mgy).

BDI’s first RepCat installations were in Vienna, Hong Kong and London. When it secured the new contract with Crimson Renewable Energy in 2017, this was the first such deal made for the RepCat technology in the U.S., and the largest at the time. Since then, however, BDI has successfully secured more, and larger, projects.

“Our RepCat technology is already being used successfully in the largest biodiesel plant in Hungary and will soon also be used in Belgium to produce sustainable fuel,” said Hermann Stockinger, chief sales officer at BDI. “The highly efficient use of local resources is an important argument for technology from [the Austrian state of] Styria in this context.”

The projects to which Stockinger referred include the recently opened 15 mgy Rossi Biofuel plant, a 25/75 joint venture between MOL Group and Envien Group, in addition to the major RepCat project for Cargill in Ghent, Belgium, scaled at 35 mgy.

Although BDI and Crimson first announced the Bakersfield RepCat project in November 2017, the project’s completion was slowed as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, in part due to restrictions on international travel.

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