Biodiesel from beans: System integrator picked for controls design

By Control Engineering Staff April 5, 2007

Control system design for the largest U.S. biodiesel facility goes to Matrix Technologies Inc ., a process design and automation firm with corporate headquarters in Maumee (Toledo), OH. Louis-Dreyfus Agricultural Industries LLC made the selection, saying Matrix will provide the control system design and integration for the country’s largest soybean oil extraction and biodiesel processing facility, to be located in Claypool, IN.

Included will be a combined 50-million bushel per year soybean processing plant and biodiesel production facility. Biodiesel is the name of a clean-burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources, such as soybeans.

When completed, the Louis Dreyfus facility will be one of the world’s first biodiesel production plants to be fully integrated with a soybean processing plant. About 260,000 metric tons of soybean oil from the plant will be used each year for biodiesel production. In addition, one million tons of protein-rich soybean meal produced each year will be used by the livestock and poultry industry. The biodiesel plant will produce up to 250,000 gallons of biodiesel per day, or more than 80 million gallons per year.

David Bishop, president of Matrix Technologies said, “We are proud to be involved in a project that will help to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, and help our environment at the same time.” Matrix was selected for the project “because of our extensive process knowledge and expertise with the technologies involved in the system,” he said. The production system at the plant will be controlled by Allen-Bradley ControlLogix programmable logic controllers from Rockwell Automation . The ArchestrA supervisory control system from Wonderware , a business unit of Invensys, was selected as the operator interface and data collection system for the facility.

“Our certification and expertise with both Rockwell and Wonderware equipment and software were key to Matrix winning the project,” said Bishop. Matrix is a Rockwell Authorized Solution Provider and a Wonderware ArchestrA certified system integrator. Each is the highest levels of certification possible with the respective organizations.

Matrix Technologies will provide all control system hardware and software design as well as testing, training, and startup services for the soybean processing and oil extraction equipment in the new facility. Matrix will also work closely with an OEM equipment supplier that will provide the biodiesel portion of the facility.

Indiana state government explains more on the project in a March 2006 PDF, ” Indiana attracts world’s largest biodiesel plant .”

—Edited by Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief, Control Engineering System Integration eNewsletter