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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

Bolivian biodiesel plant construction nears halfway point


Photo: The Bolivian Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energies

After inspecting progress of the “Biodiesel Plant 1” construction project at YPFB Refinación’s Guillermo Elder Bell Refinery in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, the nation’s minister of hydrocarbons and energies, Franklin Molina, said Aug. 24 that work on the new facility is 49 percent complete.






Molina and Omar Alarcón, the manager of YPFB Refinación, a state-owned oil company, performed the inspection together.






Biodiesel Plant 1 will cost USD$47 million and process 63,000 gallons of biodiesel per day (more than 20 million gallons per year) with raw material from vegetable oils such as palm, soybean, “macoró” and others.






Last September, Biobased Diesel Daily® reported that Desmet Ballestra was contracted by YPFB to build the biodiesel plant.






“To date, it registers a 49 percent progress,” Molina said. “This means … foundations, piles, civil works and the contracting of equipment that at this moment is finishing being built in different parts of the world. Its provision will allow us to deliver this project in December, according to the schedule.”






The construction of Biodiesel Plant 1 is part of a larger USD$400 million project that includes the building of a similarly sized biodiesel plant in El Alto, Bolivia, “Biodiesel Plant 2,” as well as a renewable diesel (hydrotreated vegetable oil) facility.






Combined, all three facilities are expected to have an annual biobased diesel output of approximately 170 million gallons per year.






“The project contemplates the recycling of the oil that was already left in the kitchen, which is no longer used, [in addition to] facilities for collection, treatment and … processing are also being built," Molina said.






“It is important to mention the impact of the project, which will allow a decrease in imports of around $100 million per year," he added. “Therefore, it is very important for the country because that also has an impact on saving resources in the subsidy.”

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