ITOCHU Participates in a Next-Generation (Inedible Feedstock Base) Biodiesel Fuel Production in Nebraska, U.S.A.

May 23, 2013

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”), together with ITOCHU ENEX CO., LTD. (hereinafter “ITOCHU ENEX”), has invested in a 50 million gallon per year, next-generation biodiesel fuel (hereinafter “BDF”) project, which Flint Hills Resources LLC, a leading U.S. refining, biofuel and chemicals company, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Flint Hills Resources Renewables LLC, and Benefuel Inc. (hereinafter “Benefuel”), a biodiesel process technology company, based in Irving, Texas, are jointly developing in Beatrice, Nebraska. The projected production volume of this facility alone corresponds to approximately 5% of the current biodiesel production in the U.S.

Core to Benefuel’s process technology is its bi-functional solid-catalyst, which converts not only the oil and fat, but also free fatty acids (FFA) into BDF in a single step. The FFA contained in the feedstocks is an inhibitor for conversion of oil and fat into BDF, and must be removed with expensive purification and refining processes. This novel technology enables the use of cheaper, high FFA content and inedible feedstocks, such as distillers corn oil from ethanol refining, waste vegetable oils, animal fats, and unrefined oils, without the costly purification and refining processes. Benefuel’s patented process technology represents a strong competitive advantage over conventional BDF processing technologies, since feedstock costs generally account for 75%-90% of total processing costs.

ITOCHU, as a strategic partner and investor in Benefuel since 2011, had been actively testing and validating Benefuel’s breakthrough technology, and has decided to participate in this project, which it believes will be a cornerstone for next-generation biofuel production in the U.S. and in many other counties worldwide. ITOCHU ENEX, an ITOCHU group company and the largest distributer of petroleum products in Japan, has also agreed to participate in this project as part of its vision of building a global biofuel business network with a major focus on developing its biofuels business in Asia, in collaboration with ITOCHU and its partners.

Outline of ITOCHU ENEX

Company name ITOCHU ENEX CO., LTD.
Head office Granpark Tower, 3-4-1 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8525 Japan
President and CEO Kenji Okada
Established 1961

Outline of Benefuel

Company name Benefuel Inc.
Head office Irving, Texas, U.S.A.
President and CEO Robert Tripp
Established 2008

Outline of Flint Hills Resources

Company name Flint Hills Resources LLC
Head office Wichita, Kansas, U.S.A.
President and CEO Bradley J. Razook
Established 1960