J.B. Hunt, SunEco Energy hit the road

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J.B. Hunt Transport Services and SunEco Energy today, June 29, announced the signing of a cooperative agreement, which could lead to J.B. Hunt becoming a significant purchaser of biodiesel made from natural algae oil using SunEco Energy’s proprietary technology.

The two companies say they conducted a series of successful tests using biodiesel made by SunEco Energy from 100 percent natural algae oil produced at the company’s pilot plant in Chino, Calif. These tests, using a 20 percent and 50 percent blend of algae oil with petroleum diesel, measured an 82 percent reduction in particulate emissions with no loss of power, according to the companies.

“Transportation fuel is virtually 100 percent oil-based,” says Gary Whicker, senior vice president of engineering for J.B. Hunt, based in Lowell, Ark. “Finding alternative energy sources to put in our fuel tanks is good business for our company and our nation. SunEco’s innovative process to produce renewable fuel supplies from algae grown in American ponds is an intriguing new option. Our initial experience with their algae-based biodiesel is promising, and we are excited about the opportunity to work with SunEco Energy to move toward a lower-cost, less carbon-intensive and more secure energy supply for our business.”

SunEco says its proprietary technology utilizes naturally occurring algae strains in a monitored environment to produce an oil product suitable for making renewable transportation fuels and other oil-based products, and, as a byproduct of the process, a high-quality animal feed supplement. SunEco says it currently is raising additional funding to enable the large-scale deployment of the technology in U.S. and international markets, including a large development in the Imperial Valley region of California.

“We are very pleased that J.B. Hunt, a leading transportation company, took the steps to test our fuel in their trucks and are taking further steps to become a leader in the use of renewable fuels,” says Dan Gautschi, chairman and chief executive officer of SunEco Energy. “The SunEco technology has been in development for over five years, with an operating pilot facility over the past two years, which has allowed us to continually produce barrels of oil rather than beakers, enabling us to provide oil for tests in a variety of applications.”