Recovery Act - Utilization of Immobilized Lipase System for Waste Water Reduction in the Bioenergy Industry

Award Information
Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
02 b
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Piedmont Biofuels Industrial
220 Lorax Lane, Pittsboro, NC, 27312
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Greg Austic
(919) 321-8260
Business Contact:
Greg Austic
(919) 321-8260
Research Institution:
Existing biodiesel production processes results in very low quality waste water which is high in fats, oils and greases and BOD (biological oxygen demand). This material is most often discharged to city sewer systems, causing problems in the pipes and at the waste water treatment plants themselves. Furthermore, crude biodiesel glycerin, a co-product of the process, has little or negative value, causing some producers to offload it at a loss or even worse into streams, lakes, or sewers. By developing an enzymatic biodiesel production method the washing step in the production process can be eliminated. With no washing procedures required, the waste water concern is alleviated. The current biodiesel production methodology forms soaps or salts in both the biodiesel and glycerin phases. Thus, eliminating soap formation through the use of enzymes results in a more complete separation of biodiesel and glycerin and a high quality, salable glycerin co-product. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: In addition to eliminating wash water and improving glycerin quality, enzymatically catalyzed biodiesel production requires fewer energy inputs and can use low quality feedstocks like yellow and brown grease. Yellow and brown grease are quickly becoming the primary biodiesel feedstocks, as existing virgin feedstocks are more costly and are challenged by the current Renewable Fuel standard policies. Though it is possible to make biodiesel from brown grease using existing technology, the technique is not often utilized because of the high yield loss and large capital investment. This enzymatic production process would be a low cost, high yield alternative. It is our assertion that this technique will raise demand for brown grease and ultimately reduce FOG (fats, oils, and greases) in sewers, a huge cost for many waste water municipalities

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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