Soybean power: Bio-Diesel facility selects control vendors


Louis-Dreyfus Agricultural Industries LLC , has announced its selections of an automation integrator and control system providers for its new soybean oil extraction and bio-Diesel processing facility in Claypool, IN. Matrix Technologies Inc ., has been selected as the control system designer and integrator, and will partner with Rockwell Automation and Invensys-Wonderware as hardware and software providers.

The plant is being billed as the largest bio-Diesel facility in the U.S., and will process 50 million bushels of soybeans per year, turning out 80 million gallons of fuel and 1 million tons of soybean meal for livestock feed. (This represents a significant proportion of total production, as the U.S. used 225 million gallons of bio-Diesel nationally in 2006, according to estimates published by the United Soybean Board.)

Matrix Technologies will build their control strategy on Rockwell Automation (AB) ControlLogix PLCs running ArchestrA supervisory control programming from Invensys-Wonderware. "Our certification and expertise with both Rockwell and Wonderware equipment and software were key to Matrix winning the project," says David Bishop, president of Matrix Technologies.

Matrix's scope of supply will include all control system hardware and software design, as well as testing, training, and startup services for the new facility. Louis-Dreyfus Agricultural plans to have the plant operating by summer 2007 to receive production from the new harvest. Bio-Diesel is normally blended with conventional fuel in varying proportions. Most engines can burn high bio content blends with little or no modification, and effectively no loss of performance. Rockwell Automation has identified the bio-fuel industry as a target for efforts to expand their process industry market share.

—Edited by Peter Welander , process industries editor,
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