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La Fabril Producing Low Cloud Point Palm-Oil Biodiesel

La Fabril, one of the largest producers of palm-oil biodiesel and currently the largest exporter of biodiesel into the United States, is producing palm-oil biodiesel that has a sub-zero Celsius cloud point.

Unlike the conventional palm-oil biodiesel produced by La Fabril which has a cloud point above 13º C, the new Cold Flo Biodiesel has consistently been tested to -3° Celsius, and is being sold with a guarantee of 0° Celsius.

The biodiesel, which meets ASTM 6751 and EN 14214 specifications, will be marketed by Biodiesel Energy Systems—La Fabril’s marketing partner for the United States and Europe—to a variety of customers for use in transportation, marine, heating oil and power generation applications.

Palm oil yields approximately 13-14 times more oil than soybeans (around 635 gallons US per acre for palm oil, compared to about 48 gallons US per acre for soybeans) and approximately five times more than rapeseed (127 gallons US per acre).

La Fabril has exported more than ten million gallons of biodiesel to the United States in the past twelve months. The company currently has a production capacity of 36 million gallons per year and is completing a mid-refining addition that will allow it to expand to 100 million gallons per year. The company, based in Manta, Ecuador, is vertically integrated from palm plantations to the refinery. It has produced edible oil products from palm and other oils for more than 40 years.

Biodiesel Energy Systems (BES) is a wholesale marketer of biodiesel.


Rafael Seidl

Note that the productivity multipliers apply to the combination of geographic latitutde (and hence, incident sunlight) and the indigenous plants best suited to exploit it. Lowering the cloud point is critical to market acceptance of biodiesel in colder Northern states and countries.

Note that switching to biofuels will eventually entail significant imports of non-food agricultural produce from tropical countries. Our currrent energy depedence on OPEC will not disappear but merely expand to a new set of countries, who may try to form a rival cartel of their own. Unfortunately, the wealth produced is likely to remain concentrated in the hands of a small elite, even if that means a reversal of recent trends toward democracy among emerging economies. Moreover, intensive energy crop agriculture could easily lead to heavy losses of rainforest area, with all that entails.

While biofuels are attractive to environmentalists in the West, it is important to bear in mind that the sheer scale of the energy flows can be highly destructive. Conservation, preferably through greater technological efficiency, ought always to be the first priority.


Well said Rafeal.

This is a primary reason why I would like to see much of our future biofuels come from what is currently waste.

Non-food sources - such as algae - should be exploited to the hilt.

I truely believe that biodiesel is the best way to go in the short run. (Maybe spiced with about 7% ethnol.)

Harvey D.

Very good points Rafael & Lucas.

Much higher vehicle efficiency and broad application of energy conservation to reduce our per capita energy consumption by 50% + should be the number one priority, not switching the fuel source.

Most alternative biofuels are not sustainable in the long term but could be used to replace some fossil fuel during the transistion period (2005/2025), from ICE-PHEVs to full BEVs and in limited quantities for special applications thereafter.

Increased production, storage and transportation of cleaner electrical energy from Hydro, Sun, Wind, Waves (and nulear if absolutely required) must also be given a very high priority.

Clean electricity can satisfy most, if not all, transportation, domestic, commercial and industrial energy needs.


Doesn't it seem that nature gave us the answers, and greed is the wrench in the works. I still can't believe $400Billion + for oil, and very little funding for alternatives by comparison. Every action has an equall and opposite reaction. I hope after 2007 we can get back on track and fund progress, not blood and lies for oil.


I'd say that greed plays a significant part of our current transportation scheme. How are oil companies going to sell anything near what they do today if we have smaller vehicles suitable for the majority (one or two person and minimal cargo) of transportation use? Being able to produce our own fuel, be it electricity or some form of plant oil, just compounds this problem, and makes smaller vehicles that much more attractive.

John McConnell

It's exciting to see that there is an understanding the biofuels are 'transitional' to the next thing -- in my opinion that thing is electric vehicles. Even people I know who are not as fanatic about it as me get it when I tell them I use biodiesel as a transition until I get an electric car. It's exciting to see this happening -- the whole thing just needs to happen faster!

Rafael Seidl

Harvey, John -

my perception is that at least three simultaneous transitions are currently underway in the LDV market:

- One, we are seeing significant demand for HEVs, clean diesel (Europe, soon US too) and CNG vehicles (selected countries), with heavy investment in H2 and fuel cells.

- Two, we are seeing strong demand for first-gen biofuels and massive investment in next-gen processes.

- Three, we are seeing rapid advances in Li-ion battery cells and packs, enabling pioneering work in the PHEV and BEV fields.

Only time will tell if these trends will continue to coexist or if any one approach will come to dominate. I don't believe these developments could happen much faster, though certain companies could show greater commitment. Ironically, the biggest drag on these transitions is not industry nor government but the consumer: SUV sales still outnumber hybrid sales by more than 20:1 in the US.


The only problem I can see with increased efficiency is Jevon's Paradox. Greater efficiency might mean less per capita energy use. However, absolute usage would increase.


I believe some of technologies you listed will converge.
HEV will gradually move to PHEV and partially to BEV. What kind of auxiliary energy source they will use – IC (gasoline, gasoline DI, diesel, NG, H2), or fuel cell – remains uncertain. My bet is for gasoline DI – for passenger cars, of course.

Future of first generation biofuels is uncertain. However, waste-derived second generation biofuels likely will stay. All in all, we treat sewage sludge in anaerobic digesters and collect biogas from landfills because of environmental considerations, not just to get biomethane.


"Only time will tell if these trends will continue to coexist or if any one approach will come to dominate. "


Diversity in our energy resources is paramount to technical and political concerns. By allowing a wide body of interests to participate in the alternative energy boom we will guarantee faster growth. Eventually we will end up with a BEV, fuel cell mix (ratio TBD) simply because liquid fuel is a political necessity.

We still must resolve big power generation concerns, CO2 sequestering, distribution and resource infrastructure (workplace grid access) etc.

Politically we will build greater acceptance faster by encouraging oil to transition to bio, power companies to build out grid access stations, small farmers to grow feedstock, and consumers to support independence with energy "grown at home."

The construction of alternative energy infrastructure will transition business/government and workers to new jobs. It should provide new opportunities for small business, entrepreneurs and innovators. It is a big project requiring coexistent diversity of technology and social engineering.


Increase fuel tax; to $1.55 over a decade. Make it flexible so that if prices spike to $10.00/ga (FY2005), there will be no gas tax, for a period of time.

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