Innovative Enzymatic Reactor for Production of Alternative Fuels
Small Business Information
1901 South Franklin, Butte, MT, 59701
AbstractThe Phase I project will demonstrate the feasibility of an innovative reactor for the production of alterantive fuels with complete conversion of free fatty acids coupled with continuous recovery of products. Key features of the continuous process for the conversion of agricultural by-products to biodiesel are: Ability to utilize low cost agricultural by-products such as vegetable oils, tallow, and yellow grease to develop a value-added industrial biodiesel production process; Continuous recovery of products to eliminate end-product inhibition for the process and shift thermodynamic equilibrium to the product direction. The novel reactor will be used to address all the major limitations of the contemporary processes enabling cost competitive production of biodisel, without generation of any waste by-products. Biodiesel is a nontoxic, biodegradable replacement for petroleum diesel. Currently, biodiesel is produced by a process called transesterification. The vegetable oil or animal fat is first filtered, then preprocessed with alkali to remove free fatty acids. It is then mixed with an alcohol (usually methanol) and a catalyst (usually sodium or potassium hydroxide). The oils' tri-glycerides react to form esters and glycerol, that are then separated from each other and purified. This is an expensive, complex process. The novel process that will result out of this Phase I project circumvent these issues and provides for a process that produces a high quality biodiesel and glycerol product independent of the feedstock composition or moisture content. No waste products are produced in the one-step process. This project will result in a step change in technology development enabling the low cost production of biodiesel from a variety of feedstocks including vegetable oils, (soya, rape and canola), tallows and yellow grease.
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