New Benefuel biodiesel refinery uses solid catalyst and no water

Benefuel, announced that it will build the world’s first industrial-scale biodiesel refinery leveraging a novel solid catalyst that converts low-grade fats and vegetable oils into biodiesel. The plant, planned to be located in Seymour, Indiana, is expected to begin production in late 2008.

Benefuel, in partnership with Seymour Biofuels, based in Indiana, plans to construct a 10-million gallon biodiesel plant that uses Benefuel’s solid acid catalyst fixed bed technology. The catalyst, developed in collaboration with leading chemical engineers from India’s prestigious National Chemical Laboratory, can turn virtually any vegetable oil or high free fatty acid (FFA) animal fat directly into biodiesel without the need for costly pre-processing.

Advantages of the process include:

  • Processes the broadest range of feedstocks with no pre-processing (up to 100% FFA’s).
  • Eliminates the need for water washing or dry washing, as there is no caustic liquid catalyst to remove.
  • Creates an exceptionally high purity glycerin (98%+) resulting in significant economic benefits.
  • Enables a continuous flow fuel-processing model that is not possible in traditional stirred tank reactors.
  • Modular, portable and rapidly deployable.
  • Eliminate the possibility of out of specification fuel with an in-line, continuous automated quality monitoring system connected through Internet technologies, cutting labor costs and eliminating down time.

Rob Tripp, CEO of Benefuel said the following:

This is a great leap forward for the entire biodiesel industry, and an exciting development for Indiana’s farmers and transportation companies. Biodiesel refiners have been looking for a breakthrough that reduces feedstock costs, addresses waste glycerin disposal, eliminates caustics in the processing stream and reduces the environmental impact typically associated with producing biodiesel. The economic benefits of a solid catalyst refinery far exceed those of conventional refineries, dramatically increasing operating margins to create a major shift in how the world produces biodiesel.

Source: PR Newswire via The Energy Blog (thanks for the tip Geoff)

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