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Behind the Scenes at a Biodiesel Producer

Bantam Home & Energy is committed to delivering its customers the best home heating oil on the market, so we went behind the scenes at American GreenFuels LLC to see firsthand how biodiesel – the heart and soul of Bantam BioHeat – is produced.

American GreenFuels is the only large-scale biodiesel production plant in the region.

Recently acquired by Kolmar Industries, American GreenFuels is a Bioheat production plant located on the harbor in New Haven. Led by plant manager and chemical engineer Dave Astrauckas, we toured the impressive waterfront operation and learned that it’s the largest biodiesel production plant in New England.

The plant produces about 16 million gallons of biodiesel annually, with capacity for 20 million.

American GreenFuels operates year-round, 24/7, with approximately 30 employees who make up four production teams. Something that distinguishes the plant from its competitors is its ability to process a variety of diverse feedstock, such as canola and soybean oils, animal fat, and recovered cooking oils. When you stop and think about it, it’s incredible there are so many different sources from which biodiesel can be produced. They’re all 100 percent renewable resources, and American GreenFuels uses only domestically-sourced feedstock.

Samples of biodiesel produced from varying feedstocks, used for educating visitors who tour the plant.

The production process involves cleaning the feedstock by removing excess water and other unwanted materials, and separating the oil from glycerin using extreme heat. In fact, it is a form of distillation, a process similar to what is used for distilling liquor and essential oils such as lavender. (The glycerin is typically sold to soap manufacturers.) This separation process is called transesterification, and the resulting biodiesel is then run through a filter of diatomaceous earth to rid it of any remaining impurities. The result is a high-quality, clean and effective fuel that Bantam Home & Energy is proud to deliver to its customers.

The tour of American GreenFuels proved what we already knew: If ever there was a feel-good source of heat, it’s Bantam BioHeat. Our thanks to Dave Astrauckas of American GreenFuels for leading the tour, and to Steve Sack of Sack Energy for arranging it.

Steve Sack of Sack Energy.


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