SafeFuels X

Rendering of future renewable diesel, jet fuels refinery near the Savage Rail Service proposed by AIC Energy.

Cerilon’s GTL plant is not the only petrochemicals project that’s landing in Trenton. There is another.

It is the AIC Energy Corporation, which plans to build a plant to manufacture renewable diesel fuel and sustainable aviation fuel using soybean oil and/or canola oil.

That plant just got what is its second North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission grant for $60,000. The money will be used to offset costs associated with a licensing agreement for its patent pending technology process.

The first grant for $212,000, was awarded in February of this year to assist in developing a state-of-the-art bio refinery for sustainable aviation fuel.

APUC is administered by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. Its mission is to boost research and development of new and expanded uses for North Dakota agricultural products.

Grants may be used for basic and applied research, marketing and utilization, farm diversification, nature-based agritourism, prototype and technology and technical assistance.

Williams County Commissioners have already approved a conditional use permit for AIC Corporation. In the application, the company says it will process 100 million gallons (6,500 barrels) of renewable fuel per year using soybean and canola oil on an 87-acre parcel in Buford Township. Its location is near Savage Service’s Trenton railport.

John Melk is listed as the owner of AIC Energy Corporation, and the Trenton plant’s name is listed as SAFuelsX Production Facility. AIC, the parent company, lists a Las Vegas, Nevada address.

On its website, AIC says the SAFuelsX Sustainable Aviation project is in the detail design phase, and plans to begin site preparation and small buildings in the spring of 2022. Siting permits and approvals have been obtained, including a federally mandated environment Assessment study. Full construction is expected to begin the third quarter of 2022, after operational permits for air quality and water quality are obtained.

Operations are expected in the third quarter of 2023. In its zoning permit application, AIC says the plant will take around 150 people per day to construct, with peak employment of 300 expected. The website doesn’t list how many people would be employed long-term.

Two types of fuels are listed as potential products for the plant, renewable diesel fuels and sustainable aviation fuel. Incoming vegetable oil feedstocks and outgoing jet fuels will arrive and depart via Savage Services.

Operating in aviation fuel mode, the company expects to need 70 rail cars per day to ship its product out. In diesel mode, they would use half that. At initial capacity, they would use 10 rail cars per day of incoming vegetable oil, or 273,000 gallons per day. Heavy haul trucks should level out at four to seven per week, with the exception of initial construction and maintenance outages.

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