September 19, 2010

Biodiesel Producer Shifts Jobs To Canada

Last week the Canadian government issued a press release announcing the funding of a biodiesel plant in Quebec.

The Government of Canada is delivering an investment of up to $18.79 million over seven years to Biocardel Québec Inc. through its ecoENERGY for Biofuels program.

Biocardel Québec Inc., located in Richmond, Quebec, will produce about 40 million litres of biodiesel a year. The project consists of converting vegetable or cooking oil or animal fat into biodiesel. The company intends to sell the product to diesel producers in Quebec, the Atlantic provinces and possibly the United States, which will include a percentage of biodiesel in their diesel.

The name Biocardel may sound familiar since I wrote about the company closing a plant In Vermont about 3 weeks ago.

Vt. biodiesel plant closes, victim of federal decision not to renew tax credits - August 21, 2010

The Biocardel facility, in a former Agway plant in Swanton, was slated to eventually produce as much as eight million gallons of biodiesel a year. The now-expired federal tax credit effectively gave companies $1 a gallon in tax breaks to make the production of the alternative fuel – made from soybean oil, waste cooking oil or other vegetable oils – economically viable.

The Biocardel facility began limited production last fall, made about seven trucks which each hold 6,000 gallons overall, Daigle said. For logistical reasons that fuel was apparently all sold outside Vermont. In December the firm, which employed three, began hiring to expand its operation.

However uncertainty about the fate of the tax credits prompted a delay, which proved prudent once the credits expired. The firm tried to wait out the problem – hoping for a return of the credits – but investors simply ran out of money and after working with Biocardel, VEDA began recalling the loans a few weeks ago, he said.

The timing of the end of the federal tax credits, effectively a third of the company’s revenue, “could not have been any worse,” Daigle said. “We have done everything we could to try and keep the plant alive.”

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