Tulsa Company to Open $7M Biodiesel Plant

Article excerpt

The new Tulsa company L.E.A.F. intends to open a $7 million Tulsa biodiesel production plant in April, the first in a planned regional chain.

L.E.A.F. Chief Executive Martha Hyde said the new plant will employ "BPU400" technology patented by the six-year-old Tulsa company Orbitek Inc. Its three-phase system will allow L.E.A.F., which stands for Living Earth Alternative Fuel, to keep the plant on a compact footprint near feedstock supplies.

Within two weeks Hyde expects to complete L.E.A.F.'s bond financing with First Coastal Financial of Tulsa. The company will then choose between two possible sites for the plant.

Contractor Bratney Cos. of Des Moines, Iowa, will build the modular production facility under what a Bratney press release said would be a partnership with Orbitek. Hyde, who corrected that to include her firm, hopes to have the 20-employee facility up and running by April, with annual production set at 4.5 million gallons.

Hyde owns L.E.A.F. with her husband, Christian Fleisher, chief executive of Orbitek - which had been called Biodiesel Technologies until about 18 months ago.

Fleisher developed the BPU400 system at Cornell in 2001. His firm is now seeking its third patent on the process.

"This package offers an engineered, safe turnkey facility with a low environmental footprint producing a competitive alternative to petroleum-based no. 2 diesel," said Fleisher.

The plant will use processed yellow grease and other oils with high free fatty acids as feedstocks. …