How Waste Products Are Converted into Biofuel

Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England), April 24, 2012 | Go to article overview

How Waste Products Are Converted into Biofuel


HARVEST Energy is one of the newest additions to Seal Sands. Construction of the 250,000tes per year biodiesel plant began in late 2004. At the height of construction the project provided employment for more than 1,000 local engineers, fabricators and trades people. Construction was completed in February 2006 when the plant began production, converting vegetable oils into a green transport fuel.

Tough market conditions followed the plant's start-up including "splash and dash" - the shipping of biodiesel from Europe to the US and back again, to exploit American agricultural subsidies which left European producers unable to compete with the price of imports. These conditions took its toll and the site finally closed in November 2009 with its employees made redundant.

Harvest Energy took over the operation of the site in April 2010 re-employing some of the original staff and with a clear sustainable strategy, concentrating on converting waste oils and fats into biodiesel.

Harvest operates to the strictest safety, health and environmental standards and works closely with the local Environment Agency office to ensure continuing operational improvements minimising all emissions and waste streams.

A company lives and dies by the quality of its product and Harvest has recently invested in a quality control laboratory on site.

Here it analyses all feedstock, in-process samples and also final product. The biodiesel fully conforms to EN14214 specification and quality is assured by independent analysis carried out by another company located on Seal Sands, Intertek Testing and Inspection Services.

The site's best asset is its people. It employs 30 people from the local area whose commitment and dedication ensure safe and efficient operations in this ever changing and difficult manufacturing landscape. The company encourages staff to suggest new ideas to improve the operation and efficiency of the production process.

And due to the constant changes to renewable energy sustainability and legislation Harvest has to remain flexible and open to change. It achieves this through the continuous improvement scheme and constantly reviews the performance of equipment onsite, operational hours and process efficiency. …

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