Biodiesel Magazine - April 2011

Page 1

INSIDE: BIODIESEL PROCESS SAFETY MANAGEMENT

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE April 2011

A Defining

Year

Review of the 2011 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo Page 26

Plus

Dry Versus Water Washing for Biodiesel Purification Page 34

And

The Pure Potential of Glycerin Page 40

US $24.95/year WWW.BIODIESELMAGAZINE.COM

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

1



CONTENTS

APRIL 2011 VOLUME 8 ISSUE 4

26

40

34

EVENT

PROCESS

COPRODUCT

A Critical Year

Finding the Right Purification Approach

The Pure Potential of Glycerin

A review of the 2011 National Biodiesel Conference

BY RON KOTRBA AND ERIN VOEGELE

Water and various dry washing approaches to purification

Capitalizing on the demand for high-quality glycerin

BY LUKE GEIVER

BY BRYAN SIMS

DEPARTMENTS 4 Editor’s Note Event Recap

BY RON KOTRBA

CONTRIBUTIONS 46 Biodiesel Process Safety Management

What you should know about plant safety compliance

BY WAYNE LEE AND JOHN HARDY

6 Legal Perspectives

You Don't Know What You Have Until It's Gone―or You Inspect It

BY MATTHEW MCKINNEY 8 Talking Point

Optimizing Biodiesel Composition and Properties

BY GERHARD KNOTHE 10 Biodiesel Events 12 FrontEnd

Biodiesel News & Trends

18 Inside NBB 22 Business Briefs

Companies, Organizations & People in the News

48 Marketplace/Advertiser Index

Biodiesel Magazine: (USPS No. 023-975) April 2011, Vol. 8, Issue 4. Biodiesel Magazine is published monthly. Principal Office: 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. Periodicals Postage Paid at Grand Forks, North Dakota and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biodiesel Magazine/Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58203.

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

3


EDITOR'S NOTE Another annual biodiesel conference has come and gone, and it was great to see so many of you in Phoenix. From the Super Bowl party and the concert afterwards—where musician Emily Richards jammed out on vocals and keyboard, Joe Jobe played harmonica and Manning Feraci finessed the guitar—to the general and breakout sessions, lunch and receptions in the expo hall, offsite dinners and meetings, hallway talk and booth conversation, it was, as usual, a good and productive show. There is no replacement for the one-on-one time that an event like the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo can offer. Conversations I had with producers and industry stakeholders had some common elements. Despite the National Biodiesel Board being thrilled about the 11th hour retroactive extension of the dollar tax credit, several producers and industry players I spoke with expressed serious concern over the uncertainty in the marketplace it is creating, especially without the assurance of any long-term policy commitment. One producer told me he thought the retroactive reinstatement was like one last chance: “Here you go, enjoy it and use it wisely because it’s not going to happen again,” he said. Maybe that’s true. Many said to me that rather than focusing lobby efforts on a subsidy for which getting any extension longer than a year in this political climate is highly unlikely, the real opportunity lies in expanding the federal biomass-based diesel carve-out well beyond the 1 billion gallon mark by 2012. At the very least, it should be doubled—immediately. NBB board members discussed the push for 5 percent by 2015. That is certainly an avenue worth pursuing. People were telling me the only ones who profit from the dollar credit are the oil companies required to blend the fuel. And as soon as the credit is in play, feedstock prices track right along with it. But with a healthy mandate in place, and market certainty created by a world without the short-term disruption of the tax credit, RINs would fulfill their intended goal in the market and supplant government subsidies. And moreover, with a robust, court-upheld mandate, who needs a subsidy anyway? The obligated parties have to blend biodiesel and that’s that, irrespective of price.

EVENT RECAP Ron Kotrba

Editor Biodiesel Magazine rkotrba@bbiinternational.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND PERSPECTIVE, VISIT KOTRBA’S BLOG AT BIODIESELMAGAZINE.COM/FAMEFORUM

Associate Editors Bryan Sims provides an overview of water versus dry washing in “Finding the Right Purification Approach” on page 34.

4

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

Luke Geiver dives into the glycerin purification market with his feature article on page 40, “The Pure Potential of Glycerin.”

Erin Voegele was at the biodiesel conference and co-authored the conference review story on page 26, titled, “A Critical Year.”


www.BiodieselMagazine.com E D I T O R I A L Ron Kotrba Editor rkotrba@bbiinternational.com Bryan Sims Associate Editor bsims@bbiinternational.com Erin Voegele Associate Editor evoegele@bbiinternational.com Luke Geiver Associate Editor lgeiver@bbiinternational.com Jan Tellmann Copy Editor jtellmann@bbiinternational.com P U B L I S H I N G Mike Bryan

&

S A L E S

Chairman mbryan@bbiinternational.com

Joe Bryan

CEO jbryan@bbiinternational.com

Tom Bryan

Vice President tbryan@bbiinternational.com

Matthew Spoor Howard Brockhouse

Vice President, Sales & Marketing mspoor@bbiinternational.com Executive Account Manager hbrockhouse@bbiinternational.com

Jeremy Hanson

Senior Account Manager jhanson@bbiinternational.com

Chip Shereck

Account Manager cshereck@bbiinternaional.com

Marty Steen

Account Manager msteen@bbiinternational.com

Bob Brown

Account Manager bbrown@bbiinternational.com

Andrea Anderson Dave Austin

Account Manager aanderson@bbiinternational.com Account Manager daustin@bbiinternational.com

Jessica Beaudry

Circulation Manager jbeaudry@bbiinternational.com

Jason Smith

Subscriber Acquisition Manager jsmith@bbiinternational.com

Marla DeFoe

Advertising Coordinator mdefoe@bbiinternational.com

John Nelson

Senior Marketing Manager jnelson@bbiinternational.com

Jaci Satterlund Elizabeth Burslie

A R T Art Director jsatterlund@bbiinternational.com Graphic Designer bburslie@bbiinternational.com

Subscriptions Subscriptions to Biodiesel Magazine are free of charge to everyone with the exception of a shipping and handling charge of $49.95 for any country outside the United States, Canada and Mexico. To subscribe, visit www.biodieselmagazine.com or you can send your mailing address and payment (checks made out to BBI International) to: Biodiesel Magazine Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. You can also fax a subscription form to (701) 746-5367. Reprints and Back Issues Select back issues are available for $3.95 each, plus shipping. Article reprints are also available for a fee. For more information, contact us at (701) 746-8385 or service@bbiinternational.com. Advertising Biodiesel Magazine provides a specific topic delivered to a highly targeted audience. We are committed to editorial excellence and high-quality print production. To find out more about Biodiesel Magazine advertising opportunities, please contact us at 701-746-8385 or service@bbiinternational.com. Letters to the Editor We welcome letters to the editor. If you write us, please include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity and/or space. Send to Biodiesel Magazine Letters, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203 or e-mail to rkotrba@bbiinternational.com.

Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts or samples before recycling COPYRIGHT Š 2011 by BBI International

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

5


LEGAL PERSPECTIVE

You Don’t Know What You Have Until It’s Gone—or You Inspect It BY MATTHEW MCKINNEY

If you are a shareholder in a biofuels corporation, or if you have an ownership interest in a different business organization (such

as a limited liability company), you may be curious about the value of your company. Or, perhaps more specifically, you may be interested in the value of your stock or similar interest. Alternatively, you may have concern as to whether your business is complying with local law. As a person holding such an ownership interest, the law may permit you to inspect and copy the business’ books and records to obtain answers to these and other important questions. In many states across the country, if you have a proper purpose and/or meet certain statutory criteria, the law may allow you to inspect and copy your business’ books and records. While a proper purpose will frequently vary from case to case and state to state, a few generalized examples include conducting an inspection to: • Ascertain the true financial condition of a business in which you hold an ownership interest. • Determine the specific value of your stock or similar interest in the business. • Assess whether the affairs of the business have been or are being conducted in accordance with the law. • Investigate possible mismanagement and/or wrongdoing. If the stated purpose for conducting a books and records inspection is to investigate possible mismanagement, then the requesting party may be required to establish a credible basis from which to infer there is possible mismanagement to warrant further investigation. Generally, the scope of a books and records request should be tailored to and consistent with the requesting party’s stated purpose. For example, if the requesting party’s purpose is to ascertain the financial condition of the business, then the records request should be limited to seeking books and records relating to

6

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

the financial condition of the business. If the requested books and records are not properly related to the stated purpose, then the inspection can be denied as seeking materials beyond what is need to satisfy the purpose. Similarly, if a requesting party already has sufficient information to satisfy a stated purpose, whether from other sources or as a result of a prior books and records request, then an inspection may properly be denied. Depending upon the state in which your business is incorporated, or otherwise created, the type of documentation available for inspection and copying may vary. Frequently, however, a stockholder or person holding a similar interest can inspect and copy the following records: • Excerpts of minutes from meetings of the board of directors, committees acting for the board of directors, and shareholders’ meetings (among others). • Accounting records of the business. • Records of shareholders. • The business’ most recent financial statements. The formal procedure to initiate and successfully complete an inspection generally requires compliance with state law. Failure to comply with applicable law may result in the business recovering any fees and costs (including attorneys’ fees and costs) incurred as a result of an improper inspection demand. Conversely, if the business fails to provide you with certain records after you have made a proper demand, you may be entitled to recover any attorneys’ fees and costs you may incur. Laws on this important issue vary from state to state and entity to entity. If you are interested in learning more about your business by conducting a proper books records inspection, or simply have questions, you may want to consider consulting a licensed attorney. Author: Matthew McKinney Attorney, BrownWinick (515) 242-2468 mckinney@brownwinick.com


Soybean Oil Rape Seed / Canola Oil Sunflower Oil Palm Oil Jatropha Oil Camelina Oil Corn Oil Cotton Seed Oil Algae Oil Used Cooking Oil Yellow Grease Trap / Brown Grease Beef Tallow Poultry Fat Pork Fat Leather Fat Fatty Acids PFAD and others

1…

BioDiesel EN 14214 / ASTM D6751

We build BioDiesel plants worldwide, using our own technology. Guaranteeing highest yield feedstock flexibility best efficiency no limits in FFA content. The BDI Process leads to the lowest position on the cost curve while avoiding the food vs. fuel risk.

Austria, 1991 9.000 t / 2.7 Mio US Gal

Austria, 1991 1.000 t / 300.000 US Gal

Austria, 1992 20.000 t / 6 Mio US Gal

Czech Republic, 1994 30.000 t / 9 Mio US Gal

USA, 1998 5.000 t / 1.5 Mio US Gal

Germany, 2001 12.000 t / 3.6 Mio US Gal

Spain, 2002 6.000 t / 1.8 Mio US Gal

Germany, 2002 50.000 t / 15 Mio US Gal

Austria, 2003 25.000 t / 7.5 Mio US Gal

Scotland, 2005 50.000 t / 15 Mio US Gal

Austria, 2006 95.000 t / 28.5 Mio US Gal

Lithuania, 2007 100.000 t / 30 Mio US Gal

Spain, 2007 50.000 t / 15 Mio US Gal

Spain, 2007 6.000 t / 1.8 Mio US Gal

Germany, 2007 50.000 t / 15 Mio US Gal

Austria, 2007 25.000 t / 7.5 Mio US Gal

Portugal, 2007 25.000 t / 7.5 Mio US Gal

Denmark, 2007 50.000 t / 15 Mio US Gal

Spain, 2008 200.000 t / 60 Mio US Gal

Spain, 2006 25.000 t / 7.5 Mio US Gal

Spain, 2006 25.000 t / 7.5 Mio US Gal

Germany, 2006 50.000 t / 15 Mio US Gal

Latvia, 2007 100.000 t / 30 Mio US Gal

Australia, 2007 50.000 t / 15 Mio US Gal

Spain, 2008 200.000 t / 60 Mio US Gal

Spain, 2008 100.000 t / 30 Mio US Gal

Ireland, 2008 30.000 t / 9 Mio US Gal

Norway, 2008 100.000 t / 30 Mio US Gal

Hong Kong, China, 2008 100.000 t / 30 Mio US Gal

Netherlands, 2009 100.000 t / 30 Mio US Gal

Belarus, 2010 50.000 t / 15 Mio US Gal

…31

and more to come soon.

Status December 2010

The world market leader in BioDiesel Multi-Feedstock Technology is also offering ENBAFERM Multi-Feedstock BioGas Technology. Biofuel Production Residues Brewery Spent Grains Food Waste Organic Fraction of MSW Flotation Sludge Pasty Liquid Blood, Meat and Bone Meal

BioGas The most advanced solution in the field of anaerobic digestion: the revolutionary ENBAFERM Multi-Feedstock BioGas Technology. Designed for various challenging industrial feedstock: • Highly reliable and stable biotechnological process with maximum possible output of energy. • Up to 3 times more throughput than conventional systems. • Compact in size; therefore easy to integrate in existing industrial plants or offered as Greenfield turn-key plants.

www.bdi-bioenergy.com


TALKING POINT

Optimizing Biodiesel Composition and Properties BY GERHARD KNOTHE

Besides issues related to economics and policy, and despite being competitive with petroleum diesel fuel, biodiesel has continued to face several technical issues, including unfavorable cold flow and oxidative stability, as well as questionable NOx emissions. With the introduction and increasing market penetration of new emissions control technologies such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR), the issue of NOx may fade with time, but the issues of cold flow and oxidative stability, both of which are addressed by specifications in biodiesel standards, will remain. This article briefly discusses addressing these problems without compromising other fuel properties in biodiesel standards, such as cetane number (CN) and kinematic viscosity. As fatty acid mono-alkyl esters, the major components of biodiesel are constructed of two moieties, the fatty acid and the alcohol, both of which can be considered for “tailoring” to improve biodiesel properties. Five approaches exist for modifying biodiesel fuel composition for improvement. These are a) additives; b) using an alcohol other than methanol to produce biodiesel; c) physical procedures such as fractionation; d) using “alternative” feedstocks with an inherently different fatty acid profile; e) genetic modification of the fatty acid profile. Additives are probably the most common approach. However, several additives are likely necessary since specific additives usually address a single problem. Issues here are additive compatibility, effects on other properties besides the one to be addressed, storage and more. For example, antioxidants are consumed with time, thus they are actually oxidation delayers. Oxidation of biodiesel will begin once the antioxidants have been consumed. Physical procedures include fractionation, for example, to remove higher-melting saturated fatty esters to improve cold flow. However, this lowers both oxidative stability by enriching the unsaturated fatty esters in biodiesel, and the CN, as saturated fatty esters possess higher CNs than unsaturated fatty esters. Changing the alcohol moiety has no or little effect on properties such as oxidative stability or CN. Any effect is likely marginally beneficial. Kinematic viscosity, however, slightly increases. Esters other than methyl have better cold flow properties as shown by the melting points (MP) of ethyl stearate (33 degrees Celsius) and propyl stearate (28.1 C) vs. methyl stearate (37.7 C). Isopropyl esters have even lower melting points, reflected in lower cloud points of the 8

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

corresponding vegetable oil esters. The major disadvantages of using esters other than methyl as biodiesel are the higher cost of the alcohol, and changes to the transesterification reaction. The other approaches, “alternative” feedstocks and genetic modification of the fatty acid profile, are partially related. For these approaches, it is useful to first define fatty acids that are most likely to impart favorable properties to biodiesel. Acids such as decanoic (C10:0; capric acid) and hexadecenoic (C16:1; palmitoleic) are prime candidates for enrichment as their esters compromise between the various fuel properties. Methyl decanoate has a MP of around minus 13 C, a CN of 51 to 52, oxidative stability exceeding 24 hours in the Rancimat test, and a kinematic viscosity of 1.72 mm2/sec. Methyl octanoate, with an even lower MP of minus 37.4 C, however, has a CN of approximately 42, below that prescribed in biodiesel standards. Accordingly, methyl esters prepared from cuphea oil enriched in C10:0 (about 65 percent) exhibited a CN in the range of 55 to 56, kinematic viscosity around 2.4 mm2/sec and a cloud point around minus 9 to minus 10 C, probably the lowest reported for a vegetable oil-derived biodiesel fuel. The oxidative stability, however, only slightly exceeded the 3-hour minimum prescribed in ASTM D6751, showing that an antioxidant additive would likely still be necessary. Cuphea oil methyl esters also exhibited improved combustion properties. Methyl palmitoleate has a MP of minus 34 C, lower than that of methyl oleate (minus 20 C), and a CN in the lower to mid50s. Breeding feedstocks with a modified fatty acid profile highly enriched in such acids is therefore likely a promising approach to improving biodiesel fuel properties. An interesting aspect that has been receiving increasing attention in this respect is the use of nonlipid feedstocks (carbohydrates) to ultimately produce biodiesel. Minor components affecting biodiesel fuel properties, however, will need to be taken into account in any case. In summary, modifying biodiesel composition to improve fuel properties is a promising approach that is likely to receive increasing attention by researchers in the future. It may ultimately prove to be the most viable approach to improving biodiesel fuel properties, thereby ensuring its future commercial marketability and success. Author: Gerhard Knothe Research Chemist, USDA-ARS-NCAUR (309) 681-6112 gerhard.knothe@ars.usda.gov



EVENTS CALENDAR International Biomass Conference & Expo MAY 2-5, 2011

America’s Center St. Louis, Missouri The largest, fastest growing biomass event was attended in 2010 by 1,700 industry professionals from 49 states and 25 nations representing nearly every geographical region and sector of the world’s biomass utilization industries―power, thermal energy, fuels and chemicals. Plan to join more than 2,500 attendees, 120 speakers and 400-plus exhibitors for the premier international biomass event of the year. (866) 746-8385 www.biomassconference.com

27th Annual FEW Heads to Indy

06/27

Indianapolis may be home to the electrifying Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500, but for four days in June, any positive buzz in the city will be coming from ethanol. As host to the 27th annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo, June 27-30 at the Indiana Convention Center, the city can expect more than 2,500 well-versed experts and attendees to arrive for the most recognized ethanol event in the world. The anticipation for the FEW has already begun, and the mayor of Indianapolis has issued a personal greeting to those headed for the Hoosier State. “I admire your organization’s commitment to ethanol, a product that helps fuel our famous Indianapolis 500 cars,” Mayor Gregory A. Ballard wrote to International FEW members. And the city itself, according to Ballard, should provide an invigorating backdrop for the conference. “The 13th largest city in the U.S. is continuing to grow, with more than $3 billion in new tourism offerings coming on-line by the time we host the Super Bowl in 2012,” Ballard says. “Consistently ranked as one of the Top 25 most visited cities in the U.S., I am confident our numerous cultural attractions, convenient downtown, and diverse culinary scene will create the perfect setting for your meeting.” The four-day event will feature keynote speeches, technical presentations and unmatched networking forums based on the current, and future, ethanol industry. The 27th installment of the FEW will include four main tracks highlighting the most up-to-date innovations, strategies and operations in the realms of production, management, coproducts and cellulosic ethanol, all of which reach the presentation floor through an abstract rating process that utilizes nearly 40 industry experts to handpick the best of the best. With industry professionals attending from nearly all 50 states, 25 countries and plant personnel from almost every ethanol facility in the U.S. and Canada, this year’s FEW will remain a conference tailored to ethanol producers. And for those interested in the current trends and challenges facing the blossoming cellulosic ethanol industry, expect the latest news and information on where the industry is, and where it is headed.

10

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

International Biorefining Conference & Trade Show SEPTEMBER 14-16, 2011

Hilton Americas – Houston Houston, Texas The International Biorefining Conference & Trade Show brings together agricultural, forestry, waste, and petrochemical professionals to explore the valueadded opportunities awaiting them and their organizations within the quickly maturing biorefining industry. Speaker abstracts are now being accepted online. (866) 746-8385 www.biorefiningconference.com

Northeast Biomass Conference & Trade Show OCTOBER 11-13, 2011

Westin Place Hotel Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania With an exclusive focus on biomass utilization in the Northeast―from Maryland to Maine―the Northeast Biomass Conference & Trade Show will connect current and future producers of biomass-derived electricity, industrial heat and power, and advanced biofuels, with waste generators, aggregators, growers, municipal leaders, utilities, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, investors and policymakers. (866) 746-8385 www.biomassconference.com/northeast

Southeast Biomass Conference & Trade Show NOVEMBER 1-3, 2011

Hyatt Regency Atlanta Atlanta, Georgia With an exclusive focus on biomass utilization in the Southeast―from the Virginias to the Gulf Coast―the Southeast Biomass Conference & Trade Show will include more than 60 speakers within four tracks: Electricity Generation; Industrial Heat and Power; Biorefining; and Biomass Project Development and Finance. (866) 746-8385 www.biomassconference.com/southeast


2012

BIODIESEL

CONFERENCE & EXPO

The biodiesel industry is poised to take on what could be its strongest year yet. But there will be challenges. The insight and education at the 2012 conference will be critical to keeping our industry on the right track and ensuring the long-term success of our strategic initiatives.

FEBRUARY 5-8, 2012 Gaylord Palms Hotel & Convention Center Orlando-Kissimmee, Florida

Hosted by the National Biodiesel Board www.biodieselconference.org

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

11


Biodiesel News & Trends

PHOTO: AUSTIN PEAY STATE UNIVERSITY

FrontEnd

BETTER COPRODUCT: Sergi Markov, associate professor of biology at Austin Peay State University, and his team are able to produce hydrogen, along with trace amounts of other compounds, from glycerin.

Microbial Tricks for the Glycerol Trade APSU researchers discover useful byproducts from glycerin As biodiesel supply and demand grow, a steady stream of glycerin is expected to follow, and research is underway to find new use methods for the biodiesel byproduct. Researchers at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., have discovered a novel method for converting glycerol into value-added coproducts such as hydrogen and ethanol. With funding from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. EPA, Sergi Markov, associate professor of biology, and two of his students, Jared Averitt and Barbara Waldron, have studied the effects of the bacterium Enterobacter aerogenes on glycerol. The team concluded that when Enterobacter bacterium feeds on crude glycerol under anaerobic conditions in a traditional stirred-tank bioreactor, a significant amount of hydrogen and ethanol is produced, including trace quantities of lactate, acetate, 1,3-propanediol and formate. Markov, Averitt and Waldron co-authored a paper on their findings, titled “Bioreactor for Glycerol Conversion into H2 by Bacterium Enterobacter aerogenes,” which was published earlier this year in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

12

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

Specifically, Markov tells Biodiesel Magazine that he obtained approximately 22 liters of hydrogen from a 17 liter-volume bioreactor per hour and 50 milliliters of hydrogen from a 35 millilitervolume bioreactor per hour. From there, Markov explains, enough hydrogen was produced that he could inject it from the bioreactor directly into a small fuel cell to power a small fan in the lab. “Our process for conversion of glycerol into hydrogen fuel is possible to scale up pretty quickly,” Markov says. “We can also use hydrogen as an energy source or as an energy carrier.” According to Markov, the research on glycerol utilization stems from work he and his team initially did while trying to find efficient ways to produce biodiesel from cultivated algae oil. Since glycerol was an end coproduct in their trial runs, Markov says that’s when the decision was made to study new uses for the compound. “We were actually more successful converting glycerol into hydrogen than we were converting biodiesel from the algae oil,” Markov says. “Biodiesel from algae oil is still a work in progress for us.” —Bryan Sims


FRONTEND

Implementing a Mandate

Canadian Renewable Fuels Strategy meets new milestone The Canadian government is moving ahead with plans established in 2009 to implement a 2 percent biodiesel mandate for diesel and home heating oil. The announcement, made Feb. 10, calls for a July 1 implementation. The proposed regulatory amendment has been published in the Canada Gazette, and is open for a 60-day comment period. “When we announced our renewable fuels strategy, we were clear that the 2 percent requirement would be implemented subject to technical feasibility,” said Peter Kent, minister of the environment. “After positive results, we are moving forward with this requirement, which will result in further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately in cleaner air for all Canadians.” According to Canadian Renewable Fuels Association President Gordon Quaiattini, implementation of the mandate is critical to the country’s biodiesel industry. “It ensures a market for the renewable fuels that we are producing,” he says. “The commitment was made in 2009 that they would move ahead in 2011, so we are certainly appreciative of the government keeping that commitment and showing its leadership on moving ahead with this renewable diesel standard.” The B2 mandate translates into the use of approximately 600 million liters (159 million gallons) of biodiesel each year. “We have about 200 million liters of biodiesel capacity in Canada currently constructed, with other projects moving forward,” Quaiattini says. “So,

we’re not quite there in terms of having the capacity built out, but…certainly we are very optimistic that additional capacity will be built out to meet the mandate.” In the meantime, there may be opportunity for U.S. producers to help meet the mandate. “We have U.S. biodiesel that comes into the Canadian market, and we have Canadian produced biodiesel that goes into the current U.S. market,” he continues. “Under NAFTA we have an open fuels policy between Canada and the United States, so in the near term there is the possibility for imported biodiesel being used to meet the mandated requirements.” While the CRFA is clearly supportive of the new mandate, some groups are not. The Canadian Trucking Alliance has spoken out challenging government claims that the mandate will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The CTA also claims that the use of biodiesel could cause cold-weather operation problems and negate vehicle warranties. “It seems from the very beginning that concerns of the consumer…were secondary to those of big agribusiness, which stands to gain handsomely from the mandate,” says CTA CEO David Bradley, noting that it is frustrating that the government would add cost to businesses in times of rising fuel prices to achieve questionable environmental benefits. “We continue to be perplexed by what the [CTA] says,” Quaiattini notes, adding that numerous demonstration projects have shown

BUILT-IN MARKET: The government of Canada is moving ahead with plans to implement a B2 mandate for diesel fuel and home heating oil, equal to approximately 159 million gallons of biodiesel per year.

no adverse operating effects on vehicles running a B2 blend, and that the CRFA doesn’t believe the CTA’s position is representative of all trucking companies in Canada. “We think this [mandate] is widely supported by a number of trucking fleets and busing fleets that have already been using biodiesel for some time now.” —Erin Voegele

Las Vegas’ Top Priority?

Proposed B10 mandate highlights undeniable biodiesel facts, good and bad Carbon reduction is only one reason why Nevada Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, has put forth a bill that would require a B10 mandate for all diesel-fueled vehicles in the state. The other is jobs. Apparently, Schneider, chairman of the energy committee for the city, was the right person to go to. Led by producer members from Biodiesel of Las Vegas in collaboration with Schneider, the bill now before the state’s natural resource commission is a reminder of one of the undeniable benefits of biodiesel production. “There is no doubt about it, we need job creation in Nevada and here in Las Vegas, in particular,” Schneider says. But, even as Schneider himself agrees that the man-

date would help plants create more jobs, there is another element that usually, as this bill proves, comes with biodiesel: opposition. Schneider says that controversy is already brewing, mainly from the trucking industry that argues a B10 mandate would void many engine warranties. “I think they just don’t like mandates so they are trying to find a glitch in the bill,” he says. Biodiesel proponents can point to other mandates already implemented throughout the country, or the ASTM D975 diesel spec that allows for up to 5 percent biodiesel without any notice, or the D7467 spec for biodiesel blends B6 to B20—at least if job creation is a real priority. —Luke Geiver 13 APRIL 2011 BIODIESEL MAGAZINE z


FRONTEND

Survey Says B20 Hits Quality Marks Latest NREL sampling shows almost all biodiesel meets quality specs Teresa Alleman, a senior chemist at National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., presented the latest biodiesel quality survey results at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in early February. The results are very encouraging and positive, not only for biodiesel producers who make the fuel, but also for blenders and end-users. Only a few short years ago, nearly half the samples tested failed one parameter or another. This was the first B20 quality survey conducted by NREL in which the samples were held against ASTM D7467, the B6 to B20 blend spec. Forty B20 samples were taken from retail outlets from December 2009 through January 2010, and three-fourths of them were obtained from regions deemed as colder, while the remaining fraction was taken from warmer regions. Geographic areas with average temperatures below minus 12 degrees Celsius (10.4 degrees Fahrenheit) are considered colder climates, Alleman said, meaning having 10th percentile minimum ambient air temperatures below minus 12 C for December and January. Tests for accurate biodiesel content in the samples showed 95 percent were blends of B20 or below, and 76 percent were between B6 and B20. Only one sample displayed greater biodiesel content than 20 percent. NREL also photographed 26 pumps to assess Federal Trade Commission compliance with labeling, and found the vast majority of

DATA SAMPLING: The 40 B20 samples obtained by NREL were taken from the areas shown with dots; three-fourths were obtained from regions with an average temperature below minus 12 degrees Celsius. SOURCE:NREL

pumps were labeled correctly, including details down to the black lettering, blue background and font size. A few labels were out of compliance and homemade, but still effectively relayed the message about the fuel blend. Acid value tests showed all samples met the D7467 spec, and half of the B20 fuel samples came in at less than half of the specification. Eighty percent of the B20 samples met the oxidative stability spec, and the warmer climate samples tested tended not to meet the spec as often as those in the colder climates.

Sample age, however, was not known. Most samples tested below 200 parts per million for moisture under the Karl Fischer test method. Even though there is no cloud point specification, Alleman said the fuel samples displayed that there’s a wide range of cloud point in the field. NREL also did a FAME characterization study of the samples, and found there was a 50/50 split between straight soy biodiesel and multifeedstock biodiesel (a complex mixture of any two or more feedstocks out there). —Ron Kotrba

Supply Chain Capture

Extreme Biodiesel becomes more than just a pure-play biodiesel producer BookMerge Technology Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary Extreme Biodiesel, finalized all necessary operations, permitting, and outfitting of trucks, and retained personnel to own and operate a fully functional brown grease recycling and rendering plant on the site of its 6 MMgy biodiesel production facility in Corona, Calif. According to BookMerge Technology CEO Rick Carter, the move to conduct waste grease collection at local restaurants and perform grease trap cleaning will allow Extreme Biodiesel to create additional revenue and expand its waste vegetable oil collection business. “With the economic environment getting better, the government reinstituting 14

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

tax incentives and the demand for biodiesel going up, we’re quite happy where things are going for us,” Carter tells Biodiesel Magazine. In addition to producing biodiesel and waste oil collection, recycling and rendering operations, Extreme Biodiesel continues to produce and sell its line of “mini extractor” reactors, which it initiated in June 2004 in Santa Ana, Calif. These units, according to the company, are designed for small business owners and individuals who seek to produce biodiesel at their own locations. As sales of its mini extractors picked up in February 2008, the company moved to its 11,400-square-foot facility in Corona. —Bryan Sims


FRONTEND

Desert Development The Phoenix metro area is now home to a new biodiesel plant. Pure Earth Energy Resources LLC recently launched Rev Biofuels, a 10 MMgy biodiesel plant located in Gilbert, Ariz. The new facility began operations in December. According to Rev Biofuels President Dan Rees, the plant features four semi-continuous flow production lines that can process a wide variety of feedstocks. “We built four small production lines, which enables us to use any type of feedstock we want, because there is a stopping point in each step of the process,” Rees says. “We’re not bound by what equipment was tuned to do. We can adjust our process to whatever kind of feedstock is [running] in that particular line.” To date, Rees says his company has secured access to waste cooking oil for use as feedstock, but is also investigating other feedstock sources. “Waste oil is what we are starting with, but we don’t think we can satisfy 10 million gallons on just waste oil, which is why we will need to look at other sources,” he says. Although the company has investigated the use of cottonseed oil as a feedstock for the facility, it is not moving forward with procurement plans because there is currently no approved pathway for the feedstock under

PHOTO: REV BIOFUELS

Biodiesel production begins in Arizona

FLEXIBLE PROCESSING: Rev Biofuels’ 10MMgy biodiesel plant in Gilbert, Ariz., features four semicontinuous flow process lines.

RFS2. “It’s not a viable product because it won’t qualify for RINs (renewable identification numbers),” Rees says. The extensive process required to approve a new pathway takes a great deal of time, Rees says. “It’s not something that is going to happen anytime soon,” he adds, noting that Rev Biofuels has yet to determine if it will petition the U.S. EPA for a cottonseed oil pathway. In the near-term, Rees says biodiesel

produced at the new facility will likely be used to meet local demand. “It was really our goals and our mission when we opened the new plant to satisfy the local need, and I think there is enough demand locally to where we’re not going to have any trouble moving all of our biodiesel as quick as we can make it,” he says. Rees also notes that his company has plans to increase the capacity of the plant in the future, at which time it might make sense to sell into regional and national markets. —Erin Voegele

Adding ‘FAME’ to Image

How one leading lady is furthering her role promoting biodiesel She’s starred in films like “Blade Runner,” “Splash,” fat into ASTM-spec biodiesel. The company has been in operation since 2008 and currently leads the small-scale “Wall Street” and the “Kill Bill” series, but actress Daryl Hannah is taking on a different role as lead spokesperson processor market in sales and production capacity. Prior to Hannah’s announcement about being to promote California-based Springboard Biodiesel LLC’s award-winning BioPro Biodiesel processors from her Malibu spokesperson for Springboard Biodiesel, the company Ranch headquarters. Hannah made the announcement reached a new milestone when it announced that more during her visit at Springboard Biodiesel’s exhibition booth than 50 universities and school systems across the U.S. have at the World AG Expo in Tulare, Calif., in February, where installed its BioPro biodiesel processing equipment, the latest STAR POWER: she answered questions from reporters and attendees and of which was installed at Arkansas State University where it’s Daryl Hannah is now celebrity used for both education and research purposes. demonstrated how the company’s BioPro processor works. spokesperson “This machine is fantastic,” Hannah says, alluding to “We are delighted to be working with Ms. Hannah,” says for Springboard Springboard Biodiesel’s BioPro 190 model processor. “If Springboard Biodiesel CEO Mark Roberts. “She has been a Biodiesel. leading advocate for small-scale, local biodiesel production you have a machine like this, making biodiesel is as easy as operating a washing machine.” for a number of years and her ongoing commitment to sustainable initiatives, including biodiesel, makes her a great spokesperson for our Springboard Biodiesel’s line of BioPro processors are fullyautomated machines capable of converting any vegetable oil or animal company.” —Bryan Sims APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

15


FRONTEND

Tax Credit vs. Increased Mandate

What is better for the industry, a renewed, long-term tax incentive or an increased RFS2 mandate? The idea of a tax incentive is pretty simple―for the biodiesel industry, it means companies that blend biodiesel into their diesel mix receive a dollar per gallon benefit. But for anyone who has followed the biodiesel industry over the past year knows, a tax incentive can be more complex than a group of politicians trying to pass a bill in Washington. While the tax credit was reinstated for 2011, and some in the industry embrace it as the main driver to revive the industry, there is growing debate on the role and cost-benefit analysis of the credit versus an expanded federal biodiesel mandate; and which path deserves the most attention. During the 2011 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, NBB chairman Gary Haer explained that the tax incentive has been one of the most successful pieces of energy legislation in America’s history. The NBB also celebrated the renewal of the tax credit and voiced its plans to influence decision makers to renew the credit for 2012. Some, like Jeff Longo, principle from Genuine Biofuels, a 6 MMgy biodiesel facility in Florida, are in favor of this push. As Longo explains, one of the problems directly related to failure to focus on reinstatement of the credit for 2012 is related to plants restarting. There are plants out there, he says, that “cannot get financing due to the fact that there is not an extension [beyond 2011].” Those plants that are currently looking to restart need capital to rehire, get in feedstock, reprogram and retrain the employees, he says. “If the tax credit was extended for two or three years, they would have no issue going to the financial people.” For Longo, “a tax credit is a guarantee, and a RIN is just a commodity.” The opinion of James Garton with Mission NewEnergy, the company that recently signed with Chevron to supply 3,000 gallons of crude jatropha oil for renewable diesel feedstock testing, differs from Longo. “My view is that subsidies to biofuels are not effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they just provide a wealth transfer to the feedstock provider.” He adds, “Mandates are more effective at creating

FORGET THE NUMBERS: Identifying the most promising policy is all a matter of perspective that includes new capital concerns and faith in the RIN market.

a stable industry, which by business economics will be effective at pricing biofuels and in doing so the premium of biofuels above fossil fuels will reflect the cost of carbon emissions and be borne by the obligated party. Not the tax payers.” Paul Tantillo, director of operations and a managing member of Enervation Advisors LLC, a company that is working to restart an Iowa-based biodiesel facility, has similar sentiments. “If your solution is the dollar per gallon tax credit, then you are building your house on a faulty foundation,” he says. From Tantillo’s perspective, (like Garton’s), the real value of the tax credit goes to the feedstock provider. Even Longo says that after the reinstatement of the credit in January, his feedstock cost instantly doubled. While some argue that the value of RINs will make up for an expired tax credit, or that the absence of a tax credit forever would provide more certainty to investors, there is also no doubt the credit is important. “Do you want the horse or the cart?” Longo asks. “Me, if the dollar tax credit is the horse, I’ll take the horse. At least I know that is a guarantee. If I was a gambler in Vegas, I would go for the RIN.” —Luke Geiver

New Life for an Existing Plant An Iowa city and biodiesel company work together to create jobs Soy Energy LLC is working to bring the former Freedom Fuels plant in Mason City, Iowa, back online with the help of a development agreement that has been established between the company and the town’s city council. According to Soy Energy General Manager Rick Davis, the agreement pertains primarily to tax increment financing. Mason City’s city council voted in February to approve the agreement. The 30 MMgy plant was purchased by Soy Energy in September. Work is underway on the facility’s front end to make it feedstock flexible, Davis says. The plant formerly processed only soybean oil. After the front end work is complete, it will be able to process a diverse set of high free fatty acid feedstocks, Davis says, noting that his company plans to bring the facility back online in July or August.

16

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

Once operations begin, Davis estimates that the plant will employ approximately 20 fulltime employees, many of whom are expected to be former employees of the facility. “We’re hoping to attract as many of the qualified people as we can,” he says. Davis says Soy Energy looked at several idle plants before purchasing the Mason City facility. “We’re excited to be in this community,” he says, adding that the location of the plant was very attractive. It has access to two rail lines and is located near two major interstate highways, Davis says. In fact, he notes that Soy Energy’s investor group voted specifically to become involved in this project. “Before we purchased this facility, we went back to our investor group and had them vote on it,” he said. “An overwhelming majority chose to purchase this facility. That really shows confidence in biodiesel.” —Erin Voegele


FRONTEND

An Oil Field Niche Market

New drilling practices use diesel fuel―what about replacing that with bio? The Bakken Oil formation located mainly in Western North Dakota holds a high volume of oil that, until the development of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, was mostly unrecoverable, according to Glen Wollan, field supervisor for the state’s Oil and Gas division. “Our production has gone from less than 100,000 barrels per day to roughly 370,000 barrels per day,” Wollan says, and the reason is directly linked to the new drilling practices. The technology involves a well bore that reaches roughly 10,000 feet before angling at 90 degrees and combines with a water-based pressure injection system that “fracks” segments of the otherwise impenetrable rock. The pressure opens areas of the rock formation, allowing oil recovery, all made possible by a variety of fluids, including, in some instances, diesel fuel. During the mud drilling phase, diesel provides lubrication and a circulation vessel for the upward removal of the rocks and debris from the well bore as the vertical well is made. Environmental issues regarding the diesel left in the earth from the process have drawn public concern. Is this drilling technology an area of expansion for biodiesel use? Wollan says biodiesel has been used in

OIL FOR OIL: Drilling practices have used diesel fuel for qualities that biodiesel is well known for: lubrication.

some aspect of the oil drilling process, but fracking fluids, which are used to provide a lubricant and vehicle to get the chemicals and additives to the drilling holes, are not disclosed by the fracking companies. —Luke Geiver

Biodiesel Begins Trading on Platts Cima Green, Augsburg Energy debut on Platts with a 5,000 barrel trade Cima Green and offshoot Augsburg Energy announced in late January that the duo was the first to trade biodiesel on Platts, with an initial trade of 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons). Andrew Pollack, senior director of marketing and logistics for Cima Green, says the move is intended to help make biodiesel mainstream by playing in the petroleum industry’s sandbox. Since the majors are familiar with trading on Platts, Pollock says trading biodiesel on the same platform will encourage market growth. The two companies also say trading biodiesel on Platts will lead to transparency in the marketplace, although how much biodiesel needs to be traded before transparency and price predictability occur is anyone’s guess. However, Pollock says, “When there’s transparency in the marketplace, this provides trust and understanding.” Katirina Tracy, Cima Green senior director of operations and procurement, says transparency will level the playing field between bigger and smaller producers. “We’re not trying to make everyone low-priced—just evenly priced,” she says. Today the brokers put the lowest of the low priced biodiesel out there as a teaser. If you ask someone today why they price biodiesel a certain way, they have no idea how to answer, she says. One fuel wholesaler tells Biodiesel Magazine that in order for biodiesel to be traded successfully on Platts, Cima Green must bring a lot of product, go long on contract and be ready to hedge. “And if they can’t do it consistently, it’s only going to hurt the industry,” the source says. “I wish them well, but they have to do

what we’ve all had to do—get established, get long-term relationships established, or else just become another name out there.” Keith McHugh, Augsburg Energy portfolio manager, says the companies aren’t trading biodiesel on Platts in order to push a bunch of cheap product through. “Our intent is far more egalitarian,” he says. “I don’t need Platts. But I saw the need for Platts.” In the earlier days of biodiesel, the strong push was on quality standards, says Joseph Furando, Cima Green senior vice president of sales and marketing. Over the years, however, the quality standard has improved, remaining a living document subject to change as needed. “Well, this is the first time the industry has come up with a standard for biodiesel pricing,” he says. —Ron Kotrba APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

17


Back to Business in 2011 Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2011 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. What a great conference, and what a great chance to get back to business. The tremendous activity in the RIN and biodiesel markets immediately following the conference is a testament to the critical role the conference has come to play as a nucleus for serious business in the biodiesel sector. This month I thought it might be valuable to summarize some thoughts, observations, and outlook that came out of the conference, including my own remarks at the event. It has been my privilege to serve as the CEO of the National Biodiesel Board for 12 years. I’ve seen tremendous change in this industry, but the most dramatic change has occurred over the past 36 months. From the irrational exuberance that we saw in 2008 with almost 4,000 people at our conference in Orlando, to the industry contraction we saw in 2009 with the melt down of the economy, to the uncertainty and instability that we faced in 2010. That uncertainty in the industry in 2010 was very difficult, frustrating and disappointing. But this past year was something else too. It was a testament to this industry’s determination not to give up, no matter how hard it gets. It is probably the main reason I am so proud to work for this industry. We don’t give up. We never have and never will. With these two rough years behind us, the industry is positioned for 2011 to be the best production year ever. We finally have all of the elements in place for a more stable and predictable year. All of the delays and uncertainties that have plagued the start of the RFS2 have now been eliminated, and the path is set for what will effectively be the first full year of the program. Because 18

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

of the research support of the soybean checkoff, biodiesel from the vast majority of available domestic feedstocks has conclusively been deemed an advanced biofuel. And currently biodiesel is the only domestically produced advanced biofuel that has reached nationwide commercialization, produced in virtually every state and throughout Canada. With the U.S. EPA announcement that it will enforce the 800 million gallon volume requirement in the biomass-based diesel category, the courts upholding the program against the major legal challenge and the reinstatement of the tax credit, the stage is set for the RFS2 to hit 2011 with full force. NBB CEO Joe Jobe addresses conference attendees during the With both the tax credit general session. and the RFS2 firmly in place this year, we have a tremendous opportunity for renewal. Clearly, RFS2 policy and economic policy in U.S. history. will be a critical policy driver for our indus- It has stimulated investment in renewable try. The NBB is committed to the program’s refinery capacity, jobs and economic activity success. We have taken dramatic measures to that generated a substantial net benefit to the help prepare the industry for this program by U.S. treasury. It has fueled innovation in techconducting countless training webinars and nology, research and plant science. It is good face-to-face meetings, often in conjunction public policy and it has produced all of these with the EPA and our partners in the petro- benefits in just five years. We must continue to remind people leum industry. that the biodiesel tax credit and the RFS2 While the future of the biodiesel tax credit is uncertain at the end of the year, it are complementary programs. They are deis important to remember that it has been signed to operate in tandem, providing both one of the most effective pieces of energy the economic incentive to stimulate markets

APRIL 2011


inside

NBB

Much of the business conducted during the conference took place on the trade show floor.

Attendees ask the EPA, IRS and NBB experts questions during the RFS2 training session.

and the stability and predictability needed to launch an emerging industry operating in the inherently unstable energy market. This is the first year that these two policies will effectively be allowed to operate together. This industry still believes in the vision and promise of this policy framework, and the NBB is going to put in place every resource at our disposal to get this tax credit extended this year. We would be foolish to expect that this year is going to be all smooth sailing. We will have our challenges. As NBB Chairman Gary Haer detailed in his speech at the conference, the challenges we will need to address include fuel quality, RIN integrity, affordable feedstock supplies and more. In fact, much of the hard work and homework that needs to be done on behalf of our industry is all about preparing for success. We have worked for more than five years to finally have in place the policy framework that we have right now. It is a powerful policy framework, one that will put this industry back on a sound footing. But it is not enough to simply achieve success. You must anticipate it and manage it once you’re there. The most important resource in these efforts is the people in the industry. It is all of us collectively staying unified and continuing to pull together as we have demonstrated that we can do, even through the toughest of times. We have to do the hard things that will ensure that this year is a success regardless of the circumstances, and that we are prepared for that success. We have an extraordinary opportunity before us and we have to deliver, no matter what. Joe Jobe, CEO, National Biodiesel Board

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

19


insideNBB

New generation of scientists experience biodiesel conference Among the seasoned attendees of the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo this year, some younger faces dotted the rooms. Eleven college students in various fields of scientific pursuit attended the conference, thanks to scholarships provided by the United Soybean Board, Ohio Soybean Council and National Biodiesel Board. The students are all members of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel, a virtual community of biodiesel supporters at colleges and universities across the nation. Rao Kondamudi, a materials science and engineering doctoral candidate at the University of Nevada-Reno, said he appreciated the opportunity to network with “big shots” of the industry, including leading scientists. “It was also great to learn that giants in U.S. industries such as Ford, Disneyland and New York City are embracing biodiesel,” Kondamudi said. “This information definitely gives the next generation hope for pursuing biodiesel. I am more confident than ever that I can find the right job that suits my passion.” During the conference, the students met with some of the leading biodiesel scientists at a networking luncheon, including NBB technical director Steve Howell; Bob McCormick, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Mike Haas, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Kyle Anderson, NBB; Gina Clapper, American Oil Chemists’ Society; Scott Fenwick, ADM; and David Slade, Renewable Energy Group Inc.

Members of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel, along with mentoring scientists working in biodiesel fields, convened at the 2011 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo

“These students are the future scientists who will develop and improve energy solutions, and bringing them into the biodiesel community now is a small investment that could yield huge returns,” said Don Scott, NBB director of sustainability. Led by the NBB, the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel formed last year to demonstrate and grow support for biodiesel among tomorrow’s scientific leaders. Students from a wide variety of colleges and universities have signed a declaration of support for the fuel, which is America’s first and only commercially available advanced biofuel.

National Biodiesel Foundation raises money at annual conference The National Biodiesel Foundation’s 3rd Annual Silent Auction raised almost $50,000 to benefit the Foundation’s mission of outreach, education, research and demonstration activities for the advancement of biodiesel. The Foundation would like to give special recognition to Cima Green Energy Services for its generous $25,000 donation at the opening of the auction. Cima Green Energy Services is the first renewable energy firm to trade biodiesel credits on Platts Marketon-Close Window. NBF Executive Director Tom Verry was pleased with the auction results. “The generosity of both donors and bidders this year shows the level of commitment and optimism of the future of the biodiesel industry,” he said. “We are thrilled to see the auction grow each year. With donations like those from Cima Green Energy Services and our other donors, we are now able to contribute significantly toward industry goals.” Funds raised by the 2011 Silent Auction will support Foundation goals and activities for the coming year such as Biodiesel Sustainability Awareness. This program includes vital research contributing to the fuel’s long-term sustainability, such as lifecycle analysis, land use analysis, and water usage. Other programs it supports include Bioheat Education and Infrastructure Development. 20

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

Silent auction items displayed in the exhibit hall

The Bioheat market alone represents potentially 7 billion biodiesel gallons annually. Infrastructure Development is another program supported by the NBF. This program includes jet aircraft testing, installing 150 biodiesel terminals nationwide and environmental certifications. To make a donation or learn more about the NBF, visit www. biodieselfoundation.org.


insideNBB

Aligning resources for inevitable food and fuel discussions You don’t have to look far to find a headline about food prices: “Hungry for a solution to rising food prices,” “Food prices hit record high after a year of severe crop damage,” “Higher Food Prices Ahead, Says Unilever as Commodity Costs Rocket Upward,” “Behind Libya: rising food prices and US debt.” As food price discussions elevate so too does the discussion of biofuels and their perceived role in this trend. Stories typically emphasize ethanol but fail to differentiate among the various renewable products. Headlines—“Why Biofuels Help Push Up World Food Prices”—and articles point to biofuels as among the factors at work in the food markets. Anticipating these challenges, the National Biodiesel Board’s Sustainability program has developed empirical data to refute unfounded criticisms such as those circling in food and fuel debates. The program includes both analysis and awareness components to help supply accurate information to reporters, as well as to thought and opinion leaders. An example of this was a recent Washington Post op-ed that inaccurately tied biofuel to food costs. Within several hours of the story’s release, the NBB reached out to the newspaper, posted comments to the article, developed a response piece, and distributed a call to members to also submit comments and letters to the editor. In addition to these ongoing efforts, NBB is also taking a proactive approach to defining biodiesel in the current biofuel landscape. A major outreach and advertising effort is underway to further help

Industry communications experts discuss the different aspects of food, feed and fuel during a breakout session.

address predictable attacks on biodiesel related to food prices, land use change, and other unwarranted criticism likely to tackle the industry as it recovers and returns to a position of growth. This new program, the Advanced Biofuel Initiative, will help solidify biodiesel’s role as an advanced biofuel and further fill existing information voids and replace misinformation with fact. More information about biodiesel and the food and fuel discussion is available online. Visit http://www.biodieselsustainability.com/. (Headline sources: Bloomberg Business Week, Bloomberg Business Week, Guardian, Christian Science Monitor, Time Magazine)

U.S. Census releases 2010 biodiesel production estimates The U.S. Census 2010 statistics are in. The consumption of fats and oils for 2010 biodiesel production was preliminarily estimated at approximately 315 million gallons. The estimate will be reconciled again with the 2010 annual report that will be published in June 2011. The estimated biodiesel production numbers for 2011 and 2012 are based on feedstock availabilities and the strong policy framework established by the RFS2. There are currently 113 NBB member plants registered with the EPA under the RFS2 representing more than 2.02 billion gallons of biodiesel production capacity.

NBB welcomes new members Kansas Soybean Association—Topeka, Kan. C&N Ethanol Marketing Corp.—Bloomington, Minn. APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

21


BusinessBriefs Regina, Saskatchewan-based Clean Power Concepts Inc. signed a letter of intent to acquire the assets of Alabama Bio Energy LLC and its subsidiary, Eagle BioDiesel Inc., which owns and operates a 36.5 MMgy multifeedstock biodiesel facility in Bridgeport, Ala. The transaction was expected to close March 15. The acquisition brings Clean Power Concepts’ combined annual production capacity to just under 42 MMgy. CPC’s subsidiary, General Bio Energy Inc., owns and operates a 20 MMly (5.3 MMgy) canola-based facility in Regina. Once CPC becomes the sole owner of the Bridgeport facility, CPC CEO Michael Shenher says that the company plans to bring it to its maximum nameplate production capacity by leveraging existing process technology with plans to potentially install its own proprietary equipment in the future.

The newest Karl Fischer Oven from Metrohm makes analyzing for water content easier than ever—from low ppm to 100 percent. Featuring the latest in headspace KF technology, Metrohm says the system is becoming a lab favorite because of its added flexibility and user-friendliness. The 885 Compact Oven Sample Changer works in tandem with both coulometric and volumetric titrators. A simple keypad controls the process, just input the number of samples, oven temperature and gas flow. The unit is small and easily fits on a crowded lab bench, the company says. After samples are weighed, up to 18 hermetically sealed vials can be placed on the sample changer rack and a push of a button begins the series. Samples, standards and quality control check samples can all be placed on the rack. 22

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

Companies, Organizations & People in the News

Chromalox introduced a new Skin-Effect Heating System designed for long-distance pipelines up to 15 miles in length. Because it uses a single power supply, the system provides a cost-effective alternative for freeze protection, temperature maintenance and heatup, particularly in remote areas where installation and maintenance are more complex and expensive. Typical applications include tank farms and storage terminals as well as long-distance piping between processing facilities in oil and gas, refining, chemical and biofuels industries. The system includes a small steel tube, containing a skin-effect electric cable that is banded onto the pipe. The cable and tube transfer conductive heating directly to the wall of the process pipe. Supply connections are made in special boxes, eliminating the need for additional heating equipment.

After months of negotiations, Enervation Advisors’ Paul Tantillo and William Dollard have come to an agreement to purchase the Algona, Iowa, biodiesel plant from the bank for an undisclosed amount. The 60 MMgy plant, completed in 2007, never became operational and requires a significant amount of work to conform to the Enervation plan for the property, according to the company. Enervation is now reviewing the existing permits and licenses, while the engineering team works to produce a more definitive plan to bring the plant up to the desired specifications. Enervation also intends to add additional components to the facility to create added revenue. “While the plant as it stands cannot produce positive cash flows, we have a strategic plan for the Algona location that enables the facility to

APRIL 2011

thrive and to fulfill its promise to the community for the jobs so sorely needed in the area,” Tantillo says.

Algae.Tec Ltd. has been accepted to list on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FWB), resulting in a dual listing with the Australian Securities Exchange. According to Algae.Tec Executive Chairman Roger Stroud, the listing on the FWB gives the company access to the most significant sustainable energy market in the world. The company is currently working to complete a demonstration facility in Australia, which is expected to begin operations during the first quarter of 2012. When compared to the FWB, the ASX is a relatively small stock exchange, Stroud says. Algae.Tec has been working to develop its algae cultivation technology for seven years. While the company did evaluate the use of open pond systems, Stroud says the amount of area required and the lack of control in terms of growth was determined to be prohibitively challenging. Instead, the company developed a closed photobioreactor system that is housed in a 40-foot shipping container featuring a light collection system.

Spraying solutions company Lechler Inc., which offers nozzles, spray headers and custom header fabrication for selfcleaning showers, air atomizing headers, air curtain headers, and a variety of spray bars, is now offering tank cleaning lances. Lechler can also custom-build tank cleaning nozzles attached to meet specific industrial needs. Lechler offers solutions, whether the lance is more of a standard fixed length or a retractable one that has an adjustable length


BUSINESSBRIEFS Sponsored by and also protects the tank cleaning nozzle more from the process fluid.

This month, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie introduced a two-year oilseed crop research program—the Biodiesel Crop Demonstration Project—as part of the state’s effort to promote energy security and sustainable local agricultural technologies on the islands. The BDC is a collaborative effort between Pacific Biodiesel Inc., the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center and Army Installation Management Command, Pacific. The project’s first priority is to hire consultants and project managers to determine which locations are suitable to grow which oilseed crops for biodiesel production. Short-term crops such as sunflower or safflower are likely candidates to be planted. The project is expected to draw specialty harvesting equipment into the state, which is new to Hawaii.

Methes Energies Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Methes Energies International Ltd., announced it recently commissioned a continuous flow pretreatment processor to convert up to 20 percent free fatty acids (FFAs) in biodiesel feedstock down to less than 1 percent without the use of sulfuric acid, chemicals or resins, and will use enzymes instead. Once additional testing is completed, Methes may

production from used cooking oil. Applicants must provide documentation indicating that they have been directly affected by the oil spill, such as loss of employment or decreased work hours and wages. Operation REACH also has a partnership with Golden Leaf Energy, which distributes and blends the biodiesel produced through the program to local diesel fleets in the area. Currently, the biodiesel facility at DCC is designed to produce about 90 gallons of biodiesel per day, but it may scale up production in the future to approximately 500 gallons a day.

confirm that its nonchemical pretreatment technology can handle feedstock with FFA percentages greater than 20 percent. The system’s commissioning took place at a biodiesel refinery in Ontario, Canada, that is a client of Methes.

Evonik's Business Line Lubricant Additives has appointed Palmer Holland to represent its high-performance Viscoplex additives, Viscobase, and Tego Lubricant Defoamers for the Eastern half of the U.S. Strongly committed to the lubricants market, Evonik will broaden its channel to market to enhance services and logistics to selected customers. Evonik’s Business Line Lubricant Additives also includes dewaxing aids used in refinery processing and cold flow improvers for biodiesel, which is part of the chemicals business.

Chevron Technology Ventures is exploring the use of crude jatropha oil (CJO) as feedstock for renewable diesel, and the energy giant will use CJO supplied by Mission NewEnergy Ltd. Chevron will initially use 3,000 gallons from the Australian-based company. Mission NewEnergy believes that over the next 30 years the existing acreage under development by the company’s contracted farmers could produce roughly 22 million barrels of CJO. Mission NewEnergy is currently under an SEC quiet period before a NASDAQ listing and was unable to comment on the recent contract with Chevron. Mission NewEnergy created an office in San Antonio and appointed Major General Wilbert D. Pearson (USAF-Ret), the former vice president at Lockheed Martin where he worked on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, to chairman of its advisory board.

New Orleans-based nonprofit Operation REACH Inc. is recruiting prospective students affected by the BP oil spill to enroll in the spring session as part of its Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project. The spring session was to begin March 10, and participants will engage in extensive hands-on training that includes certification by the National Center for Construction Education and Research and enrollment at Delgado Community College, which houses a lab-scale transesterification unit for students to learn about biodiesel APRIL 2011

SHARE YOUR BUSINESS BRIEFS To be included in Business Briefs, send information (including photos, illustrations or logos, if available) to: Business Briefs, Biodiesel Magazine, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. You may also fax information to (701) 746-5367, or e-mail it to rkotrba@ bbiinternational.com. Please include your name and telephone number in each correspondence.

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

23


4PMWJOH ZPVS DPME GMPX QV[[MF 7*4$01-&9 $PME 'MPX *NQSPWFST GPS #JPEJFTFM

8F IBWF NPSF UIBO ZFBST PG $PME 'MPX *NQSPWFS FYQFSUJTF 0VS 7*4$01-&9 $'*T IFMQ UP TPMWF ZPVS QSPCMFNT XJUI DPME GMPX QSPQFSUJFT PG CJPEJFTFM CZ JNQSPWJOH UIF $'11 BOE DMPVE QPJOU

%S 'SBOL 0MBG .BFIMJOH (MPCBM 1SPEVDU .BOBHFS 'VFMT 1IPOF ¶ Û } }Û} ¤ } Û GSBOL PMBG NBFIMJOH!FWPOJL DPN &WPOJL 3PI.BY "EEJUJWFT (NC) ,JSTDIFOBMMFF %BSNTUBEU (FSNBOZ



EVENT

DEFINING MOMENT: Joe Jobe, left, listens as Renewable Energy Group's Gary Haer, new National Biodiesel Board chairman and the board's first producer in that role, discusses biodiesel challenges and opportunities in the coming year. PHOTO: ERIN VOEGELE, BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

26

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011


EVENT

A Critical

Year

Stakeholders at the 8th Annual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Phoenix acknowledged that 2011 might well define the industry’s future BY RON KOTRBA AND ERIN VOEGELE

Approximately 1,200 members of the biodiesel industry convened in Phoenix for the 8th annual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. While the past two years presented numerous challenges, the overwhelmingly positive atmosphere at this year’s event clearly shows the biodiesel industry’s resilient nature. National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe opened the conference’s general session by noting it’s time the industry got back to business. The past year has been confusing, frustrating and at times disappointing, Jobe said. “But this year was something else too,” he said. “It was a testament to this industry’s determination not to give up, no matter how hard it gets. We got through these last two years—we’ve got them behind us. We are now positioned to have the largest year ever.” While some have wondered whether obligated parties will comply with the volume requirements of the RFS2 program, representatives of Magellan Midstream Partners, NIC Holding Corp. and Marathon Petroleum Co. LLC assured attendees that they will. “As a publicly traded company, we’ll comply with the law—period,” said Magellan spokesman Bruce Heine. APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

27


PHOTO: ERIN VOEGELE, BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

EVENT

PHOTO: RON KOTRBA, BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

INITIATING SUCCESS: The NBB awarded its own grass roots team captains the Initiative Award for their success influencing public policy.

DOING BUSINESS: Jatrodiesel Inc. president Raj Mosali, right, talks business during the expo dinner.

28

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

NBB’s new chair, Gary Haer, kicked off the second of two general sessions in Phoenix. He discussed the long, rough paths he and the industry have taken over the past 12-plus years to get it where it is today. “The past two years have put stress on our businesses, finances and families,” he said. “There are fewer chairs here,” but even so, biodiesel is now poised for one of biggest years on record, he said. It will play a new role in the nation’s energy complex. And even with the successes, we must look ahead to new challenges, Haer said. The renewable fuel standard began as a floor but now it’s the market driver. Existing industry capacity is well over 2 billion gallons, and producers and stakeholders should partner with the petroleum industry to further the biodiesel cause, he said. “In this environment there’s no substitute for smart businesses and innovative thinking,” Haer said. “We need to encourage strict enforcement of RIN compliance and integrity, and we must renew our commitment to produce the highest quality fuel in the marketplace.” Another challenge Haer mentioned is availability of affordable feedstock to responsibly grow the biomass-based diesel requirement. A task force appointed by Ed Hegland, past chairman, will study feedstock supply and investigate market and economic data for feedstock availability. “Here’s what we already know,” Haer said. “We have ample feed supplies to meet the 1 billion gallon obligation, and even better, we have enough feedstock to meet the industry’s vision to supply 5 percent of distillate demand with biodiesel by 2015,” which is about 2 billion gallons. “These are realistic goals for our industry.” “This is a critical year. Let’s stick together. We can only accomplish what we need to through a unified voice,” Haer said. “We cannot afford to split into factions, and we must avoid the temptation to move anywhere but straight ahead. We’ve faced our darkest years and we can keep together through anything. It’s not easy but it’s worthwhile. [Biodiesel] is not only how you make your living, but it’s also how you earn your legacy.” NBB director of state policy efforts, Shelby Neal, moderated a panel during the


general session on the importance of state mandates and low carbon fuel standards. On the panel was Steven Levy with Sprague Energy, who said, “Strange bedfellows unite” in reference to New York City’s embrace of biodiesel. “It’s not often legislators, industry and environmentalists all have the same cause,” but that’s what happened in New York City. The city passed a Bioheat mandate to take effect in 2012, and Levy said he thinks it will be bumped up to B5 before the implementation date. The mandate opens the door to a 7 billion gallon a year market in the heating oil world. “When you bring the infrastructure to New York for Bioheat, you also bring the infrastructure throughout the region,” he said. Eric Bowen, also on the panel, gave an update on California’s low carbon fuel standard (LCFS). He said California will rely on the power of the marketplace to produce the most efficient cost-effective carbon reduction, and unlike in RFS2, biodiesel will have to compete on its merits. Waste-derived biodiesel achieves the lowest carbon score of any fuel California has measured to date. “The opportunity is huge, but success is not guaranteed,” Bowen said. Bowen mentioned three things to maximize opportunities. One is infrastructure. “There’s no rack blended biodiesel available in California today,” he said. Two is the issue with underground storage tanks, which is currently being worked on by Underwriters Laboratories, albeit moving at a slower pace than anyone would like. The California Biodiesel Alliance and NBB worked to create a three-year grace period, but a longerterm UST solution is needed. Three, the state is now working on its own definition of biodiesel, and “it’s important we get that definition right,” Bowen said. There’s a billion gallon a year opportunity in California for biodiesel if these issues can be worked out in Sacramento. Levy said, “Our task is directly related to work being done in California. If we can have simple definitions of biodiesel and LCFS, it makes our jobs easier—and quicker. The Northeast follows California quite frequently.” For predictions, Levy said New York City will go to B5 by 2015 for Bioheat, and there

PHOTO: ERIN VOEGELE, BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

EVENT

STATE OF THE STATES: NBB state policy director Shelby Neal, left, moderates a general session panel on the effectiveness and importance of state biodiesel mandates and incentives.

will be an LCFS in 11 states in the next couple of years. “It’s coming, it’s happening, not just in the Northeast,” Levy said. Rebecca Richardson, senior consultant to the NBB, discussed Illinois’ two-tiered incentive that offers a 20 percent discount on sales tax for B10 blends and lower, and total sales tax forgiveness on blends higher than B10. “It has spearheaded interest in industry growth in the state,” she said. It’s made diesel fuel cost-competitive with fuel to the east and west of Illinois, and actually increased diesel fuel sales in the state. “This industry is not for the faint of heart,” said Manning Feraci, NBB vice president of federal affairs. He said elected officials are looking in every nook and cranny to find savings, which is why we must remain vigilant, he said. “We have a great story to tell, but in this political environment we can’t take anything for granted.” Feraci’s efforts this year will be focused on pushing for a longer term (producer) credit and protecting the integrity of the RFS2 program.

Fuels Association, said, “There’s a home in Canada for U.S. biodiesel.” The federal B2 mandate will create a 600 million liter (158.5 million gallon) a year market, but Canada’s production tops out at 160 million to 200 million liters. U.S. biodiesel sent to Canada can also garner excise tax exemptions, such as the 14-cent-per-liter excise tax exemption offered in Ontario or the provincial mandates in Manitoba, British Columbia and Alberta. Gordley & Associates spokesman Tom Hance spoke to attendees about the Section 9005 Bioenergy Program established by the most recent Farm Bill. That program, he said, authorized $300 million in mandatory funding over four years. “Payments go to eligible producers of advanced biofuels,” Hance said. Under the bill, advanced biofuels are defined as nearly any biofuel other than corn-based ethanol. The program got off to a somewhat rocky start, and some revisions had to be made to the program last year, which were published after the conference concluded. Larry Schafer, spokesman for The Diamond Group, spoke about the RFS2 program. He noted that the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association and American Petroleum Institute are pursuing an appeal of the recent court decision that denied the organizations’ original challenge to the RFS2 program. Three judges issued

More Policy Bytes Several breakout panels at the show addressed federal, state and some international policy. Canada’s B2 mandate implementation date was announced for July 1 just after the conference, and during the show Gordon Quaiattini, head of the Canadian Renewable APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

29


PHOTO: RON KOTRBA, BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

EVENT later the governors of those respective states signed a memorandum of understanding in the development of a multistate LCFS. By the end of the first quarter this year, an economic analysis is targeted for completion. The goal is to “harness market forces to drive low carbon technology innovation and deployment, and to influence national policy,” Woods said. “A national program would really make a lot more sense though.” The draft program framework document is being finalized now. The next steps in this multistate LCFS initiative, Woods said, are to review the draft framework, complete the economic analysis and review and make a decision on developing a model rule.

ENGAGING PERFORMANCE: USDA-ARS researcher Michael Haas, center, studies one of several diesel vehicles on display in the expo hall.

Fuel, Processes

a unanimous decision denying the original lawsuit, and the NPRA and API are now asking a larger panel of judges to consider the issue. Schafer noted that the court is unlikely to agree to hear the repeal, however. Schafer also spoke to attendees about the upcoming U.S. EPA rulemaking that could set the stage for the future of the biodiesel industry. While the RFS2 sets a minimum 1 billion gallon requirement for biomass-based diesel in 2013 and beyond, Schafer said that the agency can elect to increase that volume requirement. “At some time this year EPA is

Defining what the best biodiesel is depends on who is asked, according to a panel of experts who spoke on optimizing biodiesel. Bob McCormick, a principal engineer in the fuels performance group at NREL, said, “Today biodiesel is a fuel with properties of convenience. In this narrow universe of C16 to C18 fuels, there’s quite a range of properties,” he said. If an ester group is put in the middle of a branched molecule like methyl palmitate, for instance, rather than at the end of the unbranched chain, there are advantages. The melting point of methyl palmitate is 29 C, but if it’s branched at the end, the melting point is lowered to 17 C. Move that

30

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

going to tell us what they expect will happen in 2013 and beyond,” he said. In a breakout panel on state policy, NBB’s Neal said no policy can impact biodiesel like low carbon fuel standards can, and if all states considering LCFS policies were to implement them, a 3 billion gallon annual biodiesel market would be created. Brian Woods, an environmental analyst at the Vermont agency of natural resources, discussed the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic LCFS initiative. In December 2008, 11 states signed on to participate in the initiative, and a year

APRIL 2011


up the chain and the melting point plummets to minus 13 C. “While you lose some cetane, it’s still adequate,” McCormick said. McCormick also talked about esters from biomass, such as pentyl pentanoate. Conventional lipid sources can sustain about 2 billion gallons per year of biodiesel production, but 1.3 billion tons of sustainable biomass are produced in the U.S. annually. Timothy Jacobs with Texas A&M’s mechanical engineering department discussed low temperature combustion and how biodiesel fits in with it. Conventionally, there has always been a trade-off between NOx and particulate matter, but low temperature combustion simultaneously decreases both. He noted, however, that efficiency issues and higher carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions emerge. Biodiesel could be the answer to those issues, he said. In testing, biodiesel did reduce CO and HC emissions—albeit not to levels low enough to meet regulations—and it also increased efficiency of the engine during low temperature combustion. Regarding why or how biodiesel increased the efficiency performance under these conditions, Jacobs said he’s not really sure at this point. “It’s related to what combustion with biodiesel looks like,” he said. Biodiesel’s peak rate of heat release is sooner, so in terms of efficiency, it is desirable for combustion to occur as close to top dead center as possible.

PHOTO: ERIN VOEGELE, BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

EVENT

EXPANDING MARKETS: Amerigreen Operations Manager Jason Lawrence, left, Earth Energy Alliance CEO Michael Devine and Advanced Fuel Solution President Paul Nazzaro discuss the future of Bioheat during a session titled The Business of Bioheat.

said, are CAL-B (Novozymes 435) and TLIM. “CAL-B works well with and without water for esterification, and TL-IM works well in transesterification,” she said. Glycerin coming off the process is 99.6 percent pure. For bulk esterification, Piedmont is seeing an FFA reduction from 100 percent down to 20 percent with feedstocks such as brown grease and palm processing residues in 80 minutes. The FFAs are converted directly to esters, she said, and in 60 minutes the 2 to 20 percent FFA feedstock with higher moisture is brought down to an acid

Rachel Burton, Piedmont Biofuels research director, spoke about the research collaboration between Piedmont and Novozymes during a panel on production innovations. The enzymatic research began in 2008 and the pilot unit began running last year. Piedmont’s enzymatic R&D has been focused on both esterification and transesterification, and began with asking questions such as, can we hit the bound glycerin spec, can we hit acid value spec and how much water can we handle? The two specific enzymes being used in this research, Burton

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

31


EVENT value within specification, 0.22, along with low moisture. Six to 12 times less methanol is necessary with enzymatic processing versus that needed with acid chemical esterification. “This can be a direct replacement for sulfuric acid esterification,” Burton said. “We call it the FAeSTER process—fatty acid esterification.” She said Piedmont is rapidly moving from pilot work on this to developing bolton commercialization units. The commercial target is to drive costs down to 15 to 25 cents

a gallon. There is a significant difference in capital costs between of enzymatic processing and acid esterification. For a 3 MMgy plant, an acid esterification system would cost $900,000 versus about $300,000 for an enzymatic system. “This is scale neutral, and it eliminates the need for chemical acids for esterification,” Burton said, “and there’s no excess methanol rectification.” Ultimately the process can help make a biodiesel plant more Earth-friendly since enzymes are natural proteins.

get more.

NATIONAL

BOARD

NBB Is Your Member Organization.

32

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

RINs, Markets Biodiesel producers are currently dealing with extreme volatility in both the agricultural and energy markets. In order to minimize risk, many companies are turning to hedging strategies. During a RIN panel, First Capital Ag spokesman Will Babler said, “A RIN is a piece of paper—not even—it’s just a couple of digits on an EPA system somewhere. They came into existence because a policy maker wanted them to be there, and they can go away just as easily. That creates some additional volatility.” RINs are nothing more than a tool to manage RFS2 compliance for obligated parties, he said. Obligated parties can meet their RFS2 obligation through the physical market or through the RIN market. The price of RINs is currently high, making them an attractive option to hedge some risk. Babler also provided attendees with an overview of two primary hedging strategies: merchandising and crush hedging. Considering the significant volatility biodiesel producers must deal with right now, Babler said it’s foolish to try to pick the tops and the bottoms of markets. The major problem with most companies’ hedging strategies is that they start with the best intentions, but don’t quite manage to follow through. “They don’t pull the trigger, and it’s apparent everywhere we look in the industry,” Babler said. Mercuria Energy Trading spokesman Paul Oesterreich also spoke during the panel. Regarding RINs, he noted that obligated parties are really the key in determining who will actually blend biodiesel into fuel. While the obligated parties are the ones who need to be holding RINs at the end of the year for compliance purposes, they may not be the ones who actually blend the fuel. According to Oesterreich, one reason obligated parties might elect to achieve RFS2 compliance through the RIN market rather than physical blending is that biofuel represents a miniscule fraction of most obligated parties’ business, and they may not want to dedicate capital resources to installing blending infrastructure to handle that small a fraction of business. Richard Nelson, who contracts with the NBB, spoke to attendees about the goals and intentions of EPA’s moderated transaction system (EMTS). Unintentional errors were a pri-


EVENT mary motivator in the EPA’s development of the EMTS. Nelson also spoke about the four ways that RINs generated by the EMTS system can be separated from gallons of biomass-based diesel. “[The] most common [way] is when the biodiesel is mixed with diesel or it creates a blend of B80 or less,” Nelson said. “At that point, once it’s blended, those RINs have been separated and they are ready for sale.” RINs are also separated from product when it’s sold for use as a neat product. Upward delegation is the third method by which a RIN can be separated. This often happens when product is sold to small blenders who don’t want to deal with RINs. The RINs are effectively transferred back to the producer. Finally, exporters separate RINs from product when fuel is shipped overseas. In this case the RIN is retired, Nelson said. Bioheat is becoming big business in the Northeast, and the conference included much discussion on biodiesel-blended heating oil. Oilheat dealers themselves seem to be driving a significant expansion of the market and the oilheat industry has been in need of a new opportunity to help rebrand the fuel its sells, said NBB Petroleum Liaison Paul Nazzaro. “What’s in it for them is a new lease on life—to save their businesses, frankly,” he said. In fact, Earth Energy Alliance CEO Michael Devine noted that more than 900,000 homes in the Northeast switched from oilheat to a different fuel source between 2000 and 2007. Many of these customers switched to natural gas, a fuel that has been branded as cleaner and more environmentally friendly. Over a 20-year period, Devine estimates that those lost homes will cost the oilheat industry nearly $53 billion in lost sales. When blended with more than 11 percent biodiesel, ultra low sulfur heating oil actually burns cleaner than natural gas with the added bonus of containing a percentage of renewable content. Oilheat dealers positioned to benefit most from Bioheat marketing are the ones that Michael Cooper, Ultra Green Energy Services LLC’s vice president and director of sales and trading, refers to as “maverick marketers.” Although the entire oilheat industry is rebranding itself as the Bioheat industry, many marketers will supply minimal Bioheat blends to meet mandate obligations. However, maverick fuel dealers who really push to supply higher blends of biodiesel-blended heating oil will give themselves and environmental edge to better compete with natural gas. Devine also outlined some of the ongoing actions the NBB is pursuing with the National Oilheat Research Alliance to help develop new ASTM standards for Bioheat blends that contain more than 5 percent biodiesel. “The Bioheat Technical Steering Committee is currently working with Penn State University on three types of certifications for higher biodiesel blends,” he said. The first is a legacy blend, which would be the highest percentage of biodiesel that could be included in heating oil without making any modifications to existing legacy heating systems. The second is testing to support certification of a B20 blend of Bioheat. Finally, the groups are also working on a B100 oilheat specification. Authors: Ron Kotrba, Erin Voegele Editor, Associate Editor, Biodiesel Magazine (701) 738-4942 rkotrba@bbiinternational.com evoegele@bbiinternational.com

Renewable Fuels Group West Des Moines, Iowa renewablefuels@fcstone.com 800.422.3087, ext. 7419

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

33


PROCESS

QUALITY TESTED: Bill Fries, senior research chemist at Purolite's lab in Philadelphia, evaluates biodiesel purified with the company's ion exchange resins. PHOTO: PUROLITE

34

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011


PROCESS

Finding the Right Purification

Approach Trends in biodiesel washing and polishing BY BRYAN SIMS

When it comes to biodiesel production, quality is the name of the game. For biodiesel producers, that means finding the most economically viable and efficient purification equipment capable of filtering out excess impurities such as glycerin, sulfur, soaps, methanol and other trace contaminants commonly found in their methyl esters in order to meet stringent ASTM D6751 specifications. Overlooking this step can result in producing off-spec product, translating into lost production time that ultimately cuts into the bottom line. One of the most commonly used methods for purifying biodiesel is to wash the impurities out with water. Other effective, though archaic, ways to wash biodiesel are agitation, mist and bubble washing. Water has a very low affinity for biodiesel and absorbs excess alcohol, catalyst and soap suspended in the fuel. After the biodiesel is washed, it has to be dried. This is usually done via vacuum flash drying with an evaporator, or it can dry when left in settling tanks. Spent process water can be pretreated for evaporation or sent to a distillation column to be recycled in the process. Water that isn’t recycled is discharged as effluent to sewer systems. Most water washing systems are utilized by larger-scale production plants— usually 15 MMgy or more. Typically, this process will use approximately 10 percent (volume basis) wash water in multiple countercurrent washes to clean the biodiesel. During the process, the cleanest wash water is introduced into the cleanest biodiesel; the dirtiest wash water is introduced into the dirtiest biodiesel and the two streams flow in opposite directions. But water washing has its drawbacks. It’s a time-consuming step that requires many hours for the biodiesel and water to completely separate. And, since virtually all biodiesel processes use a homogeneous catalyst like sodium or potassium methoxide, the presence of soap can create emulsification problems, which impair the separation of the water and biodiesel during the wash, according to Will Smith, engineering manager for Salem, Ore.-based Pacific Biodiesel Technologies Inc.

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

35


Since 2000, PBT has provided engineering, equipment, contracting and laboratory services for 10 biodiesel plants in the U.S. The company is credited with building the first commercial-scale production facility in the country, a 1.5 MMgy facility in Kahului, Hawaii, owned and operated by Pacific Biodiesel Inc. “One thing that gets people hung up is that [water washing] doesn’t do a good job of removing trace contaminants like phosphatides and sterols, which are things that tend to precipitate out of biodiesel in storage and downstream handling,” Smith tells Biodiesel Magazine. “A recycle water wash approach is well-suited for plants that are running a pretty uniform feedstock where their soap concentrations are relatively constant and don’t require a whole lot of water to do the purification.” In addition to phosphatides and sterols, sulphur compounds are another class of contaminants that are not effectively removed via a water wash system according to Ashley Player, chemical engineer at Frazier, Barnes & Associates. “Typically not

36

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

PHOTO: JATRODIESEL

PROCESS

HARD AT IT: Jatrodiesel Inc. uses a dry wash filtering system with mineral adsorbents at its 5 MMgy multifeedstock plant in Miamisburg, Ohio.

APRIL 2011


PROCESS

PHOTO: PUROLITE

present in virgin oils, or present in only very small amounts, these materials are a significant contaminant in many secondary feedstocks like poultry fats and some tallows and greases,” Player says. Too much sulfur content can be problematic if specified sulfur levels aren’t at 15 ppm per the on-road diesel specification. Water washing is well-suited if the biodiesel has low soap concentrations that prevent emulsification. This was the method preferred by many producers during the industry’s growth period that began in 2006, according to Rahul Bobbili, vice president of Miamisburg, Ohio-based biodiesel producer and technology provider Jatrodiesel Inc. “During the buildout of the biodiesel industry, whoever was using virgin feedstocks with FFA content less than 0.5 percent, they were all doing water washing while encountering no issues,” Bobbili says. “But, as soon as the high FFA feedstocks started coming into the market, animal fats, used cooking oil and so forth with FFAs ranging between 0.5 and 20 percent, then water washing

MATERIAL SCIENCE: Purolite's ion exchange resins are employed by a variety of biodiesel producers, including Center Alternative Energy Co., a 5 MMgy plant in Cleveland.

AOCS has the winning hand when it comes to your laboratory needs. AOCS Technical Services provides the necessary resources for your lab’s quality and reputation. A sure bet since 1909. O Analytical Methods O Laboratory Proficiency Program O Certified Reference Materials O Approved Chemist Program

Learn more at www.aocs.org/LabServices APRIL 2011 Tech-Cards-BiodMagHalf.indd 1

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

37 2/21/11 2:13 PM


PROCESS became a hassle because the soap quantities increased, as well as sulfur and other impurity levels.” Because the introduction of water increases the risk of emulsification, dry washing alternatives are proving to be more effective, primarily within the smaller-scale class of producers.

Dry Wash Alternatives In dry washing, an absorbent is added that adheres to and combines with impu-

rities, separating them from the biodiesel. Some systems use ion exchange resins as the absorbent while others may use a fine magnesium silicate powder, several of which are marketed under well-known brand names such as Magnesol by the Dallas Group of America Inc. and Select by Oil-Dri, to name a few. The use of magnesium silicate absorbents involves pouring the material into the unpurified biodiesel, mixing the two together and then filtering out the remain-

DON’T GET LEFT OUT IN THE COLD

THE CLEAR ANSWER FOR BIODIESEL DISTILLATION • Improve cold weather performance • Stay ahead of tighter biodiesel specifications

FATTY ACID STRIPPING | EXTRACTION | OIL PROCESSING | BIODIESEL | GLYCERIN REFINING | ESTERIFICATION CROWN IRON WORKS COMPANY Call us today 1-651-639-8900 or Visit us at www.crowniron.com Additional offices in Argentina, Brazil, China, England, Honduras, India, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine

38

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

ing impurities with various membranes and filter media. Methanol is removed via evaporation prior to coming in contact with the absorbent because of its high polarity. According to Smith, this approach also works well for plants that have varying levels of soap and free glycerin, especially in batch process plants. “It also does a great job of removing primary contaminants, residual catalysts and methanol,” Smith says. “It’s also effective in removing trace compounds like sulfur, phosphatides and intermediate decomposition products commonly found in used cooking oils that have been left in fryers for extended periods of time.” Ion exchange, or active filtration, involves the use of resin that’s typically placed inside a vessel forming a packed bed where the methyl ester stream passes through it. Any free glycerin in the stream will attach to the surface of the resin. Catalyst and soap are removed from the biodiesel by the exchange of ions between the resin and the contaminants. In the case of residual catalyst, such as sodium methoxide, the resin exchanges a hydrogen ion for a sodium ion. Similarly, a hydrogen ion is exchanged for a sodium ion of a soap molecule to form an FFA. Because of this exchange, the technique is only effective for soap levels up to approximately 2,500 ppm. If soap levels are above this threshold, increased levels of FFAs can result in an acid number that exceeds ASTM specifications. As with water wash systems, ion exchange approaches have disadvantages because the resins depreciate during each purification cycle. Although the resin can be regenerated to remove glycerin, they cannot be regenerated to remove soap. The expediency at which they can be regenerated to complete each cycle varies by supplier, according to Bobbili. “You can regenerate the resin, but, for example, the first time you buy the resin it may perform 100 days,” Bobbili says. “After regeneration, it may perform 90 days and after that, 80 days, so the consumption trends smaller and smaller.”


PROCESS Center Alternative Energy Co., a 5 MMgy plant in Cleveland, Ohio, uses a resin manufactured by Purolite. According to General Manager Bill Dummermuth, limited soap content in the biodiesel can increase the life of the resin. “If you’re doing a good job in decanting, the resin will last a very long time,” Dummermuth says. “The material that we’re currently using typically lasts about 350,000 gallons. I think the number resin companies tout is around 100 gallons of biodiesel per pound of resin. I’ve gotten about 80 percent of that in my system.” How much biodiesel resin can handle before it’s spent depends on guarantees by the resin supplier. For Purolite, about one pound of PD206 resin product can treat between 200 and 250 gallons of B100, which translates into approximately 35 to 50 cents per gallon of B100 operating cost, the company stated in e-mail correspondence with Biodiesel Magazine.

with plants exceeding that level typically utilizing water wash systems. “Whenever we propose plants at the 10 to 15 MMgy range, we propose clear filtration systems because quality is our biggest push,” Bobbili says. “Quality is key in the biodiesel industry. We want to stick to something that is reliable.”

a lot from an operating cost standpoint,” Smith says. “You just have to worry about energy input.” Player says that FBA has gotten more interest in dry wash systems, “but the problem is that it’s cost-prohibitive,” she says. For Jatrodiesel, Bobbili is seeing a trend of plants with an installed capacity of 10 to 15 MMgy or below moving towards ion exchange or clear filtration (silicate absorbent) purification methods

Author: Bryan Sims Associate Editor, Biodiesel Magazine (701) 738-4974 bsims@bbiinternational.com

Trending Towards Reliability Like process technology, the industry has seen an evolution of purification equipment enter the market over the years. As improvements to existing purification technologies continue, the type of feedstock introduced can also greatly impact biodiesel quality, irrespective of the type of the purification equipment used, according to Smith. “The purification part of the biodiesel production process is really only as good as the product that’s fed into it,” Smith says. Smith adds that PBT is developing a vacuum distillation technology for biodiesel purification to be installed at Pacific Biodiesel’s 5 MMgy multifeedstock plant currently under construction on the Big Island of Hawaii. The goal, he says, is to leave sulfur-containing compounds, polymerized compounds and other unreacted materials, ending up with a crystal clear product. “It’s a robust technology where you have a lot of control over the separation, and you don’t have any consumables like resins and silicate absorbents so it helps

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

39


COPRODUCT

PURIFICATION POWERHOUSE: Novasep has teamed up with the former Rohm and Haas (now owned by Dow) on a multiple step glycerin purification unit. PHOTO: NOVASEP

40

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011


COPRODUCT

The Pure Potential of Glycerin Glycerin purification strategies are evolving, and the market might not be far behind BY LUKE GEIVER

For the past three years, a Keokuk, Iowa, biodiesel and glycerin refining facility has been idle, but since Enervation Advisors LLC, a distressed-asset buyers group, purchased the plant, operations at the 5 MMgy facility are about to change. The first major change, slated between March and April, has little to do with the plant’s near-term ability to produce biodiesel. Paul Tantillo, Enervation’s director of operations and a managing member, says that this particular distressed asset features an intriguing opportunity to make short-term cash flow—and it starts with glycerin. “If you are fairly sharp,” Tantillo says, “you are going to make money making glycerin because it’s a very stable environment.” The Keokuk facility, which has a 4 MMgy glycerin refining capacity, is receiving a facelift on the existing membrane filtration system that will add a coalescer, a liquid-liquid separator hydrosep unit, a Pall Corp. filtration system and a vacuum, according to Tantillo. “I want volume and to be cost effective,” he says. For Tantillo and his group to pay cash for a facility that sat idle for three years partly in the absence of a federal blender’s credit, and for the first cash flow in Keokuk to go toward revamping a glycerin refinery in the face of a recent volatile glycerin market, may sound like risky business. But, if Tantillo’s excitement to restart the facility as one that can more efficiently and effectively purify glycerin to a technical grade spec is an indicator, then the time and effort spent on marketing Keokuk's glycerin should pay off. Enervation also has plans to purchase other biodiesel facilities. For every billion gallons of biodiesel produced, 100 million gallons of glycerin is also produced. If the biodiesel producer is not interested in the glycerin as an alternative revenue source, the copious amount of byproduct produced could be a problem, but for the producer interested in marketing it, glycerin is a good thing.

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

41


PHOTO: ROBERT ELBERT, ROLAND, IOWA

COPRODUCT

SOLID APPROACH: Catilin Inc.’s team, founded by Professor Victor Shang-Yi Lin, had developed a solid-catalyst for biodiesel production that creates a high purity glycerin.

A Purity Problem When considering glycerin, Brad Albin, vice president of manufacturing for REG, says the first thing to realize is that there are a lot of different types of glycerin and that from a finished product perspective, there are six different types and more than 1,500 known uses for glycerin. Some

biodiesel facilities clean up the glycerin stream by evaporating the methanol and the water, some simply ship off the glycerol without performing any purification and others combine a number of steps like the Keokuk plant. The tried-and-true method of distillation still represents the best process for pu-

rifying and, although other novel processes are creeping up towards the 99.7 percent required to meet the USP spec, distillation is still the only method to do so. The benefits of distillation come with high energy costs and require, in most cases, a separate building equipped with stainless steel piping, all of which limits the ability of many

Supplier of Process Machinery to the

BioDiesel Industry ®

inc.

www.aaronequipment.com Call Anthony Tufano: 630-238-7538 • atufano@aaronequipment.com

Stainless Steel Reactors, Tanks, Heat Exchangers, Columns, Pumps, Filters and More... We Buy and Sell Single Items, Complete Process Lines or Entire Manufacturing Plants. 42

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011


COPRODUCT producers to operate a distillation facility. That doesn’t mean that purification problems can’t be solved though. Catilin Inc. has developed a solid catalyst used for biodiesel production that resembles a granular solid of roughly 20 microns in size, according to Dave Sams, vice president for business development. “Because our process is dry and our catalyst is not washed in the glycerin, our glycerin is about 98 to 99 percent pure without post processing of any kind,” Sams says. “And that is what happens for all of these solid catalysts.” The catalyst is mixed directly into the reactor and, Sams says, a filter is used to retain the catalyst within the reactor for reuse while allowing the products to flow downstream to the separator. Consequently, the glycerin is high purity and can be sold into the technical grade markets. At Piedmont Biofuels, Rachel Burton, research director for the innovative cooperative that has partnered with Novozymes to develop an enzymatic biodiesel approach for transesterification and esterification, has released the information surrounding her work. The results show that by using the enzymatic approach, Piedmont Biofuels can produce glycerin with 99.6 percent purity. Doug DiLillo, industrial biotechnology lead at Pall Energy Group, and his team have developed individual processes that involve membrane technology filtration, which is also being used in the Keokuk plant. “We’ve primarily used the membrane approach for upgrading the glycerin stream from a biodiesel plant for those that are looking to generate a second revenue source,” DiLillo says. Nothing has been commercialized at this point, but DiLillo says Pall can work with someone from within the industry to develop and explore the application for a specific use that would involve feasibility investigation, proof of concept, design and system engineering. Pall already provides filter modules that are impregnated with carbon for deodorization of glycerin and other filters sized at the submicronic level for sterile filtration applications needed for some glycerin streams. While DiLillo says the membrane ap-

particular application.” For biodiesel-based glycerin streams, Keef says that membrane compatibility issues usually are the greatest challenges for creating a successful system. At their pilot facility in Wisconsin, Keef and his team have tested several membranes and found two or three that are well-suited for glycerin purification. The GEA systems are based on cross-flow filtration that use a clean-in-place cycle (CIP) that is designed to be cleaned and regenerated after each CIP. The team has tested polymeric (fancy plas-

proach is ultimately going to be more economical than distillation, ion exchange or some other use of resins or carbon, Pall has not yet “gotten quite far enough to prove that out.” In Wisconsin, Bob Keef, market manager at GEA Filtration is also working with membrane filtration technology specifically suited for glycerin streams at biodiesel facilities. “Within our group,” he says, “we design and build membrane filtration systems using whatever is appropriate for the

The renewable energy lawyers. B i o d i es el

|

Et ha no l

|

Solar

|

W i nd

Known for getting the deal done right, we’ve been assisting with the development and financing of renewable energy projects since 1996. The next time you need guidance with financing, debt restructuring, tax and securities issues, contracts, government compliance, permitting, or general business plan advice, turn to the experienced attorneys that make up Lindquist & Vennum’s renewable energy groups.

Minneapolis | Denver | www.lindquist.com/biofuels

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

43


PHOTO: NOVASEP

COPRODUCT

MANUFACTURING EXPERIENCE: Novasep has developed purification technology for other fields in the life sciences.

COALESCERS Highly Efficient & Easy to Use

Separation of dispersed sulphuric acid wash water from biodiesel As a worldwide supplier of HIGH-QUALITY COALESCERS we stand for: • Outstanding separation technology & cost-saving solutions • Long standing experience with over 700 units installed worldwide • Customized all-in solutions supplied by one partner • Permanent technology development, qualiÄed consulting & testing service For additional information please contact: FRANKEN FILTERTECHNIK KG, Germany Phone: +49 (0) 2233 974 40-0, e-mail: info@frankenÄlter.com, web: www.frankenÄlter.com

44

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

tic) membranes that he says will last about one year, give or take. For specialty applications, specifically glycerin purification from a biodiesel stream, there are also inorganic membranes made from ceramics or stainless steel that will last five to 15 years. Like DiLillo at Pall Corp., Keef says that GEA can work with an individual producer to design a system. GEA will test a system they believe would be well-suited for a particular biodiesel facility at its own pilot facility for two or three days before eventually testing a skid-mounted unit at the actual commercial site. “Membrane filtration technology is creating some opportunities,” he says, in part because “it is all based on molecular weight separation” that uses centriphical pumps. While the idea of membrane filtration technology is gaining real strength in the area of glycerin purification strategies, there are other approaches, such as that of purification powerhouse Novasep, whose approach is already commercially available. The AmbersepBD50 combines chromatography and polymeric separation technology in a scalable process suited for glycerol purification. “We’ve made a lot of simulations and we’ve found that in the case of technical grade glycerol,” says Francis Pejot, bio industry market manager for Novasep, “the operating cost for our technology is much lower than distillation.” The lower costs, Pejot explains, are directly linked to the cost of steam needed to operate a distillation system. From solid catalysts, to enzymes, membrane filtration systems or chromatography-based units, and, of course, distillation, there are multiple ways to purify glycerin, and Albin says in the future “they will all play a role. Solid catalyst might be good for some. Membrane technologies will have their place too.”

The Next Place There are those, like Francis or DiLillo, who are unsure of the potential markets for glycerin, given the reality that as more biodiesel plants come online, more glycerin will be available, which effectually overloads the market and drives down the cost. But,


COPRODUCT both Albin, and Eric Fobes, renewable energy director from Nebraska-based Gavilon Group LLC, say they believe that more glycerin is a good thing. Fobes explains that elements of the glycerin market are much different than they were only five years ago, and that is making glycerin a much more valuable product. When foreign countries started building capacity and found ways to ship glycerin in bulk, the product shifted from a specialty chemical to what it is now, a commodity. “Between 2007 and 2008,” he says, “the market built massive glycerin refining capacity,” in Europe, South America and Southeast Asia, all on the backend of biodiesel. In 2008 and 2009, glycerin buyers then got “new medicine,” during the financial meltdown and changed their buying habits, and got better at purchasing spot and 90-day contracts, all of which happened at the same time a massive influx of product was coming into the U.S. market. Today, in combination with a new glycerin product qualification system that once took nearly six months and now takes only a few days, Fobes says there is a supply chain for glycerin that is repeatable. Those two enhanced elements alone signal for Fobes that glycerin use will most likely grow, at least in the USP sector. Fobes explains that several glycerin users today could use technical grade but don’t, either because of stigma, or more importantly a consistent supply. As an example, he points to drilling mud used for oil and gas. Most drilling mud contains a significant volume of USP grade glycerin that could actually be technical grade if there were a ratable supply. The quality testing and glycerin specs vary so greatly in the technical grades, creating a hurdle for technical grade expansion, according to Fobes. “The percentage of market share that USP gets today I don’t believe will change significantly in the future,” he says, adding, however, that, “if we can find ratable supply of technical grade glycerin, we will see more tech grade glycerin sold to certain market segments.” Fobes’ thoughts on the expansion of the glycerin market might not inherently show that biodiesel-based glycerin usage

tive price of glycerin. “Chemical could be significantly increascompanies will find a way to make ing, but Albin’s take just might. products out of glycerin,” he says. Most of REG’s plants sell crude “That is the future.” glycerin. There is an REG facilFor Albin, a saturated market ity in Illinois, however, that puriis a bridge to a greater potential. fies glycerin to technical grade as “Until you got to the billions of well, but Albin says the plant isn't currently taking any glycerin to a PURE PERSPECTIVE: gallons of biodiesel being made in the U.S. and Europe,” he explains, USP grade. A company such as REG vice president there wasn’t enough security in Colgate, which uses glycerin for Brad Albin says larger glycerin toothpaste, has a very selective volumes are a good using glycerin for products typically made from petroleum. “I can process and strict requirements thing all around. tell you that we are in discussions for the product it uses, but, he adds, “There is only so much toothpaste with at least three to six different routes for where that glycerin can go,” Albin says. And that will be used.” Because of that, and because biodiesel’s these aren’t, as he says, the normal routes. footprint is increasing, which increases glycAuthor: Luke Geiver erin’s footprint as well, “a lot of the chemiAssociate Editor, Biodiesel Magazine (701) 738-4944 cal products that are made of petroleum lgeiver@bbiinternational.com products” could eventually be made from a glycerin source, he says, based on the attrac-

New Velcon Poster

Velcon Filters, LLC Diesel and Biodiesel filtration solutions for fuel quality and cleanliness, crucial factors to guarantee engine performance.

Recommended Filtration for Diesel and Biodiesel Transfer Points

Velcon Filters, LLC Colorado Springs, CO USA www.velcon.com/diesel.html 888.224.0716 719.531.5855 Fax 719.531.5690 vfsales@velcon.com ™

MEMBER

Fuel Filtration and Separation Specialists for over 50 years APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

45


SAFETY CONTRIBUTION

Biodiesel Process Safety Management As biodiesel grows, expect increased scrutiny of safety compliance BY WAYNE LEE AND JOHN HARDY

A segment of our practice as the nation’s largest biodiesel consulting firm is devoted to safety. We have a safety trainer for plant personnel training, and our legal counsel, coauthor here, leads our Process Safety Management practice. This article should not be relied upon as a legal opinion, nor should it be considered exhaustive. It is a but a starting point from which those in the biodiesel industry can better understand the topic as it applies to biodiesel plants. Process Safety Management is a regulation promulgated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA specifically notes in its introduction that unexpected releases of toxic, reactive, or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving 46

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

highly hazardous chemicals have been reported for many years in various industries that use chemicals with such properties and regardless of the industry that uses them, there is always potential for accidental release when not properly controlled. These standards attempt to prevent these releases and ultimately prevent disasters. The OSHA standards specifically require that facilities that use more than 10,000 pounds (about 1,500 gallons) of certain flammable liquids or gas implement specific safety standards. In the biodiesel industry, these flammable components are most often methanol, ethanol, potassium methylate and sodium methylate, and the product that producers refer to as being “in process” (i.e., the feedstock in the processor that is mixed with

APRIL 2011

one or more of these components). When a producer speaks of product in process, he is normally not referring to reaction agents and catalysts stored in separate tanks. However, OSHA’s definition of a process includes any activity that involves a highly hazardous chemical, including “any use, storage, manufacturing, handling, or the on-site movement of such chemicals, or combination of these activities.” The OSHA definition specifically notes that any group of vessels that are interconnected, and separate vessels that are located such that a highly hazardous chemical could be involved in a potential release, are considered to be part of this process. These definitions make it clear that the flammable catalysts and reaction agents used or stored at biodiesel plants are part of the

The claims and statements made in this article belong exclusively to the author(s) and do not necessarily refl ect the views of Biodiesel Magazine or its advertisers. All questions pertaining to this article should be directed to the author(s).


SAFETY

process. Commercial biodiesel plants fit within the definitions and must have process safety management. What must a biodiesel plant do to comply? The starting point is that management must have a commitment—one that includes employees and encompasses all facets of process safety management. Ongoing safety trainings, done by most plants, are certainly an integral part but simply conducting these trainings is not compliance. Plants must gather (and keep) process safety information, conduct safety reviews, analyze potential hazards, ascertain the mechanical integrity of equipment and be ready to manage change as it occurs. They must incorporate good operating procedures, fire prevention, equipment training, and procedures for investigating and reporting accidents, and auditing of these procedures. Plants must be compliant and owners must ensure outside companies are educated and operate safely in their plants. Here is a cursory review of the 13 major elements of Process Safety Management standards. Process Safety Information: This involves organizing and understanding all the written information concerning the chemicals, technology and equipment used at the plant, including Material Safety Data Sheet information, block flow diagrams, process flow diagrams, and piping and instrument diagrams. Employee Involvement: Employers must consult with employees in developing safety programs and hazard assessments. Training and education is required. Process Hazard Analysis: This is an organized, systematic effort to identify and analyze the significance of potential hazards associated with the processing or handling of hazardous chemicals. Operating Procedures: This is a detailed summary of the plant’s standard operating procedures, which need to be technically accurate yet understandable to employees. They must be revised periodically to ensure that they reflect current operations. Employee Training: This is a clearly defined training program that ensures that employees know how to safely handle hazardous chemicals. Contractors: A screening process must be established to ensure and document that any contractors

that must be done. Noncompliance is recipe for disaster. Although OSHA has the ability to assess huge penalties for noncompliance, and has done so in appropriate cases, the agency historically has not “scoured the countryside” looking for potential problems at biodiesel plants. However, as the industry grows, expect increased scrutiny. If there is a serious accident, particularly one with injuries, the plant should expect its Process Safety Management program to be reviewed. If the plant is found to be noncompliant, potential fines are large enough to put the plant out of business. It’s important to note that OSHA is very helpful for those who desire to comply. In addition to hiring experts, plants can request OSHA personnel to conduct onsite visits without citation books in hand, designed to assist in identifying potential problems and to give guidance on rectifying. The idea is to help those who are trying to help themselves. We’re at a time when many biodiesel plants seek funding. Lenders and investors have a justified skepticism of our industry in light of the difficulties of the past few years. But as the industry moves forward, government and private funding will expand accordingly. The lenders will continue to demand evidence that an operation is of the highest caliber—proven technology, reliable feedstock sources, and ongoing process safety management programs. In the final analysis, process safety management is nothing more than a system of identifying, evaluating and preventing disasters in the workplace. While a PSM program does not have to be a doctoral thesis, it does need to be a complete compilation of properly organized documents. It must involve employees having a clear understanding of what these documents mean and how to use them. Electing not to have a good process safety management program is much like deciding not to have insurance. It’s not worth the risk.

and their employees are qualified and trained in safe work practices. Contractors should be advised of the plant’s PSM plan and prohibited from making unilateral changes to the physical plant. Pre-Startup Safety Review: For new and existing plants that have been shut down for any reason. Mechanical Integrity of Equipment: A detailed mechanical integrity program should be developed that routinely reviews the plant’s maintenance programs and ensures the reliability of the plant’s equipment. Nonroutine Work Authorizations: A consistent procedure for any work that would not be considered part of the regular routine, including identification of all hazards related to that work, must be established. Safely Manage Change: Employers must establish means and methods to detect both technical and mechanical changes, and develop a change form that includes such things as a description and purpose of the change, the technical basis for the change, inspection and testing, approvals, and authorization. Incident Investigation: A procedure must be developed for identifying the underlying causes of incidents and implementing steps to prevent similar events from occurring. Plants should be learning from near misses, and should have a team to do the investigation. Emergency Planning: A procedure must be established to inform employees of their responsibilities if there is an unwanted release of hazardous chemicals. It should involve different sets of plans for different emergencies and local authorities should be involved. Employers must have an emergency action plan, activated by an alarm system that will facilitate the prompt evacuation of employees to a safe zone. Compliance Audits: The process safety management system must periodically be audited by a trained individual or team. The audit should be thoroughly documented and any necessary corrective action identified. Although OSHA provides guidelines, developing a PSM program is likely to be a daunting task for most biodiesel plant owners. Assembling and organizing the vast amounts of chemical, process and equipment information, and developing a cohesive program is undoubtedly burdensome, but it’s something APRIL 2011

Authors: Wayne Lee, John Hardy CEO, Attorney, Lee Enterprises Consulting Inc. (501) 833-8511 wlee52@lee-enterprises.com

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

47


BIODIESEL MARKETPLACE Saskatchewan Research Council 306-787-9400 www.src.sk.ca

Ag Products & Services

Employment

Equipment

Recruiting

Turner BioDiesel 715-288-6480

SearchPath of Chicago 815-261-4403,x100 www.searchpathofchicago.com

www.turnerbiodiesel.com

Storage

Engineering

Associations/Organizations

Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition 651-223-9568 www.CleanAirChoice.org

Chemicals-Catalysts

Crown Iron Works Company 651-639-8900 www.crowniron.com

Used Equipment

Analytical Instruments

UPM Machine 713-440-8200

Wilks Enterprise, Inc. 831-338-7459

Evonik Degussa Corporation 732-651-0001 www.degussa-biodiesel.com

Expellers

www.WilksIR.com

www.jvnw.com

www.upmmachine.com

Marketing Biodiesel

Cleaning

French Oil Mill Machinery Company 937-773-3420 www.frenchoil.com/biodieselmag.shtml

Ductwork

Field Instruments

Hydro-Klean, Inc. 515-283-0500

JVNW Inc. 503-263-2858

Equipment & Services

Bases

www.guttmangroup.com

Tanks

Process Design

Red River Valley Clean Cities 651-227-8014 www.CleanAirChoice.org

Guttman Group 800-245-5955

Suma Energy LLC 516-816-3705

www.sumaenergy.com

Blender/Distributor American Biofuel Solutions,LLC 305-246-3835 www.305biofuel.com

www.hyrdo-klean.com

Emergency Spill Response Hydro-Klean, Inc. 515-283-0500

Market Data WilksIR.com 203-855-9136

www.hydro-klean.com

Hydro-Blasting Hydro-Klean, Inc. 515-283-0500

Dedicated, On-site Biofuels Measurements In 60 Seconds!

www.hydro-klean.com

Railcars Hydro-Klean, Inc. 515-283-0500

www.hydro-klean.com

Ethanol in gasoline

Miscellaneous Maas Companies 507-285-1444

www.maascompanies.com

Process Technology

Biofuels QC Production

Modular Systems GreeNebraska Renewable Diesel Refineries 402-640-8925 www.greenebraska.com

www.hydro-klean.com

Construction

Filtration Media

Fabrication Andy J. Egan Company 616-791-9952 Raptor Technology Group 321-274-9675

Met-Chem, Inc. 216-881-7900 www.andyegan.com www.raptorfe.com

Education

www.metchem.com

Flaking Equipment French Oil Mill Machinery Company 937-773-3420 www.frenchoil.com/biodieselmag.shtml

Laboratory-Equipment

Biodiesel Education Prog. Univ. of Idaho 208-885-7626 www.biodieseleducation.org

Biodiesel Analytical Solutions 800-483-8107 www.biodieselanalytical.com

Laboratory-Testing Services Cennatek Bioanalytical Services 519-479-0489 www.cennetek.ca 48

www.Research13.com

Low Level Biodiesel

Used By Petroleum Terminals, Regulatory Agencies, Nuclear Power Plants, Biofuels Manufacturers

Tank Cleaning Services Hydro-Klean, Inc. 515-283-0500

Biodiesel (FAME) in diesel

Research 13 503-863-9913

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

z

APRIL 2011

BIODIESEL MARKETPLACE

your solution


BIODIESEL MARKETPLACE Turnkey Systems

Advertiser Index

Green Fuels America, Inc. 866-996-6130 www.greenfuelsamerica.com

2 52

2011 International Biorefining Conference & Trade Show

51

2011 International Biomass Conference & Expo

50

2011 Northeast Biomass Conference & Trade Show

9

2011 Southeast Biomass Conference & Trade Show

11

2012 National Biodiesel Conference

42

Aaron Equipment Company

30

Ag Solutions LLC

37

AOCS American Oil Chemists Society

7

JatroDiesel Inc. 937-847-8050

www.jatrodiesel.com

Mcgyan Biodiesel, LLC 763-421-3729

www.mcgyan.com

Pacific Biodiesel Technologies 503-263-1851 www.biodiesel.com

2011 Algae Biomass Summit

BDI Biodiesel International AG

38

Crown Iron Works Company

24

Evonik

33

FCStone, LLC

36

Flottweg Seperation Technology

44

Franken Filtertechnik KG

39

French Oil Mill Machinery Company

43

Lindquist & Vennum PLLP

25

Maas Companies

32

National Biodiesel Board

31

Ultrasonic Power Corporation

45

Velcon Filters

Engine Testing Roush Industries 734-779-7736

www.roush.comsportation

Railcar Gate Openers The Arnold Company 800-245-7505 www.arnoldcompany.com

APRIL 2011

z

BIODIESEL MAGAZINE

49


Exhibit Space and Sponsorships

Now Available Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity to reach hundreds of people in the biomass industry in search of solutions. There is simply no other means of meeting with this many biomass-related decision makers, influencers and stakeholders in the Northeast. Be there, interact and do business with these key decision makers, influencers and stakeholders. Exhibiting at the Northeast Biomass Conference & Trade Show will deliver real value toward your bottom line. Contact an account representative today for more information, or to learn about exhibit space and sponsorship opportunities. 866-746-8385 service@bbiinternational.com