Quality. Quality. Quality.

As we approach final plant design, the pace is beginning to accelerate at Promethean. Countless things to do, an unending cadre of decisions to be made, and a score of activities to be completed make for some hectic days and long nights.

And as the days pass and we approach completion, I am now beginning to focus on those things that together comprise the most important thing, the end result. One essential thing occupying the mind is quality.

‘Quality’ plays a part in everything we do. Quality of service, process quality, and product quality. 

In my view, an alternative energy company, much like a bank, is a company reliant on the public trust.  Certain aspects of our products and services must be consistent and completely dependable. The level of consistency required can only be achieved by developing and rapidly maturing our quality management infrastructure.

Training programs need to be developed. Metrics for success need to determined and adopted. Perhaps most importantly I must begin to foment a cultural mechanism to promote change; to fix issues as they arise in a “one time touch” approach which focuses on permanent corrections to problems and not temporary workarounds.

Toyota motor company has used this approach to great effect, empowering workers on its assembly-lines to stop production on the floor to correct problems as they arise. Toyota has focused this approach to optimize its production over the long term, accepting temporary production stoppage as an approach to prevent future inefficiency.

This approach necessitates a level of honesty that at times might seem brutal, and so it is important to also maintain a culture of respect. The Promethean ecosystem is a delicate balance, a constant work in progress, and like every business it begins with a seemingly endless cadre of hard decisions.

Make it a better place,

Todd

So many projects. So little time.


I have been occupied witrh a variety of projects recently.

The first has been the design of our mixed-feedstock plant for the newly named ORIL facility in Temecula.

ORIL is short for Operations Research and Innovation Laboratory, and as the center of Promethean’s collection, production, and research activities I believe the name captures the essence of what we will be doing.

In preparation for final technology selection, I have had the opportunity to examine a number of ways to make biodiesel, and each method does have its advantages and disadvantages. All things considered, price has been a deciding factor for much of the design and I have focused on an initial design that will produce up to 3 MMGY of biodiesel if run in a constant fashion. Some hard decisions were made; to centrifuge or not; to use cavitation or not; to use large ion-exchange columns or a series of small columns.

Special consideration had to be given to our process because we expect a large portion of our feedstock to require acid esterification prior to the core FAME reaction. Developing an efficient way to handle this secondary process has been something of a challenge. (I may say more about this in future posts after my headache subsides.)

Other projects have been developing the regional marketing plan, the human capital recruitment plan, securing permits and variances, as well as coordinating the collection program. 

It is an exciting time here. I am happy to see things progress. I also know that things will get progressively busier over the next few months.

Great!

Make it a better place,

Todd

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The biofuels plant is finally underway in Temecula, Ca.

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Promethean Biofuels has completed the first phase of permit acquisition, and is now underway with the construction of our first production plant, located in the city of Temecula, CA.

The initial plant will operate in a micro-nodal fashion as a producer, blender, and wholesale distributor of quality fuel that will meet, and generally exceed, the latest ASTM 6751 standard for biodiesel.

The plant will use a hybridized batch/continuous flow approach developed internally by myself with the help and assistance of Kenneth Craig, our resident chemist and “brewmaster” and Dr. Paula Marie Ward.

I have chosen to initially focus on a mixed-feedstock approach that is heavily reliant on used vegetable oil from local sources.

Promethean already has arrangements with local distribution partners. I am formalizing the community outreach approach now, making those decisions necessary to match and balance good ideas with ease of execution and available capital.

I personally have some hard decisions to make regarding final processor design and approach.

Not that I am complaining. I cannot express the joy of being at this point in a process that evolved from an idea to help us all be better stewards for the environment to this growing entity with a mission and life of its own.

Make it a better place…

Todd

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