Oil spills, biodiesel calculators, and the CDFA.

Like all of us I have spent the last few weeks observing the environmental horror that has befallen the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Nothing less than catastrophic ill can result from an oil spill of this magnitude. The environmental costs related to this accident will span generations and will alter commercial fishing and the local economy for the forseeable future. I am proud that the majority of biodiesel producers have operations that pose environmental risks several orders of magnitude lower than what we are seeing with events in Louisiana.

Clearly we need to develop clean, renewable, less perilous energy solutions.

We have been working very hard over the last few weeks.

We somehow finished a grant proposal, conducted a seemingly endless stream of intern interviews, cut man-ways for tanks, installed racking systems, and began a general reorganization of the plant. We made batches, fixed batches, and in one case gave up on a batch of fuel. We visited customer sights, delivered solutions, received a visit from an agent from the California Department of Forestry and Agriculture (CDFA) who inspected our facility towards fulfillment of the quarterly inspections required annually to maintain our rendering license .

I have been working on an update to a biodiesel recipe calculator. Feel free to take a look (click here for the Biodiesel Recipe Calculator) and email me your comments here. I hope to perform a major overhaul of this in the next month or two. If you have any suggestions for feature additions feel free to let us know.

Back to the Gulf Coast horror. We have been working on an animal friendly surfactant to assist with cleaning victims of the spill. The list of potential recipients includes turtles, seals, dolphins, pelicans, and a host of other creatures too numerous to enumerate.

HR 4213 is on the verge of passage, implementing amongst its other mandates the retroactive extension of the biodiesel excise tax credit. Many hope for passage by mid June. Reinstatement of the credit will not be not sufficient to drive major industry growth.

Make it a better place,


Steadily increasing.

The complexity of our design-build projects is steadily increasing. From constructing continuous flow methanol recovery units to welding 316L stainless steel manifolds for 4″ diameter pipe connections, we are asked to devise an ever-increasing array of solutions for a growing number of clients.

We also are awash in internal projects; the construction of an oil dryer; fabrication and installation of a new ion exchange column; the occasional major pump repair.

Although projects abound our first priority remains ramping up production. It is a work in progress, a process that requires patience and fortitude in equal measure. There are periods where progress seems at a standstill until a momentary breakthrough, sometimes a result of intellect but perhaps as often the consequence of simple dumb luck, leads to a process improvement or innovation.

We are in the process of collecting and reviewing our internship applicants for the Summer 2010 program. I must say that I am pretty anxious to start the final interview and acceptance process. Our interns have some very interesting and challenging assignments to look forward to here.

My hope is that over time Promethean can help develop some of the future leaders of clean, sustainable and renewable energy. I am sure making this hope a reality will also require some additional measure of patience and fortitude. I guess I better try to keep in mind that life is a journey and not a destination.

Make it a better place!