Drop-in Biofuel Bunker Firm Receives Patent, Looks to Lubes Market

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday May 4, 2015

Canadian bio-fuels company Altranex Corp. (Altranex) is looking to use its now-patented technology to develop products for the marine lubes market, the company's founder and CEO Chad Joshi has told Ship & bunker.

Ship & Bunker reported back in 2013 that the Kingston, Ontario based biofuels business had already produced small quantities of its Altra-HF product, a 0.10 percent maximum sulfur drop-in replacement for heavy fuel oil (HFO).

Now, says Joshi, the firm is focussing its efforts on producing lubricants.

"It's the same process we're using to make the bunker fuel, but if we do a little post- processing after that we can turn it into a high quality lube," he told Ship & Bunker.

"And we're able to produce very high quality lubrication base oil that will give synthetics a run for their money. Synthetics have a high viscosity index, but ours is even higher than synthetics."

Joshi explained that Altranex's process received a patent in February 2015, which now gives them a yield of about 90 percent lube, and 10 percent renewable diesel.

"We're still making fuel, but its becoming less and less of our go-to-market strategy. It's no longer the core, its a byproduct," he said.

Joshi said the reason for the shift in focus is entirely commercial: "Lube we can sell for $2200-2500 per tonne. It's been fortuitous because of where the diesel price has been pushed down due to the drop in oil prices. Our feedstock oil is costing us that."

Altranex reports interest has already been shown in its new lube product, and it has received a letter of intent from Vavoline in regards to a pilot production plant as well as having a strategic partnership with one of the oil majors.

"I think in the next couple of years we'll start breaking ground on a facility producing 90 tonnes per day of lubricant, and 10 tonnes per day of renewable diesel," said Joshi.

Last year researchers at Britain's Aston University said they were working to develop a marine fuel using waste from the Norwegian forest wood industry, with the potential for large-scale production of a "completely sustainable" biofuel by 2020.