DRIVE: California's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program



<< Return to Projects

The Biodiesel Industries ARIES© Community Scaled Bioenergy System project is a pilot project to validate the commercial potential of modular biodiesel production integrated with bench scale aspects: anaerobic digestion (AD), combined heat and power (CHP) and multiple feedstocks including algae, brine shrimp and waste vegetable oil. About 200 gallons a day of biodiesel is being produced at Red Rock Ranch, where electronic sensors and valves enable the first remotely controlled biofuels plant for decentralized biodiesel production. The work is done in collaboration with PIR-11-030 administered by the Energy Commission PIER program.

The renewable strategy limits the size of the system based on the feedstock availability. The used water from the biodiesel production process is combined with the raw glycerin by-product and digested in the AD. Biomethane feeds the CHP for electricity for the biodiesel refinery. The resulting effluent is fed into the algaculture process along with carbon dioxide and heat from the CHP micro-turbines and possibly manure. Native non-oil bearing algae is fed to brine shrimp which are then harvested for their oil for biodiesel production. About 1 liter a day of biodiesel from algae and crustaceans is being produced on the Naval Base at Port Hueneme. The biodiesel production will continue with waste vegetable oil feedstock after the project term ends. Biodiesel Industries built a greenhouse for sixteen 330-gallon tanks to grow algae for this pilot study.

Grant Amount


Match Funding

$1,595,146 from the project participants.

Project Benefits

Biodiesel Industries is collecting detailed performance and cost data, and analyzing environmental impacts and permitting requirements, and they are conducting economic viability studies for a full-scale facility. Biodiesel Industries estimates a full-scale production plant using this technology could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 23,000 tons of CO2 a year over a normal biofuel plant and could be a net producer of energy. It could produce 3 million gallons of biodiesel, 3,000 megawatts of renewable electricity, and 47 million megajoules of renewable heat. It would result in 58 permanent and 19 temporary jobs. Because this process ARIES produces renewable energy from waste products and uses a feedstock that does not use potable or irrigation-quality water, it should conserve an estimated 473 million gallons of processing water each year, use production byproducts (glycerin and carbon dioxide) and be a net producer of electricity and liquid transportation fuel.

Grant Agreement Number: ARV-10-024

Contact Us | FAQ | Links

Copyright © 2011 - 2013 California Energy Commission