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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014 VOLUME 11 ISSUE 6
Safety Your Way
Global Biodiesel Additive Research Roundup
Producers and technology providers discuss safety aspects of running a biodiesel plant
BY RON KOTRBA
R&D advances to improve biodiesel properties and capitalize on a growing market
BY RON KOTRBA
CONTRIBUTION 24 FIRE
Reducing Risk of Spontaneous Combustion Texon LP shares a simple but effective solution to decrease risk of auto ignition
BY ROB FRANSHAM AND JON VAN GERPEN
2 2015 International Biomass Conference & Expo 22 Crown Iron Works Company 23 EcoEngineers 28 Evonik Corporation 14 HERO BX 18 Iowa Central Fuel Testing Lab 7 Louis Dreyfus 15 Methes Energies 19 & 27 NBB National Biodiesel Board 26 The Pennsylvania State University
4 Editor’s Note Safety First
BY RON KOTRBA 5 Legal Perspectives
New US Sanctions Against Russia Impact US Biofuels Companies
BY RICHARD WEINER AND SHARON K. FREIER 6 Talking Point
Knowledge Best Defense for Fire Risks
BY ART KRUGLER 7 Biodiesel Events 8 FrontEnd
Biodiesel News & Trends
10 Inside NBB Biodiesel Magazine: (USPS No. 023-975) November/December 2014, Vol. 11, Issue 6. Biodiesel Magazine is published bi-monthly by BBI International. 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.
14 Business Briefs
Companies, Organizations & People in the News
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
SAFETY FIRST Ron Kotrba
Editor Biodiesel Magazine email@example.com
www.BiodieselMagazine.com E D I T O R I A L Tom Bryan President & Editor in Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
As we finalized this print edition of Biodiesel Magazine with a focus on plant safety, a flash fire was being reported at Midwest Biodiesel, which reportedly ignited as a result of welding repairs to a tank with alcohol, injuring two people. Unfortunately, these types of
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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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.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 email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
events are all too common in the biodiesel industry. In our featured article, “Safety Your Way,” I talk with several biodiesel producers of various sizes—Pacific Biodiesel, Kelley Green Biofuel and Piedmont Biofuels— in addition to process technology providers Crown Iron Works and WB Services to get their take on best practices from design and procedural standpoints for running a safe commercial biodiesel operation. Lyle Estill, president of Piedmont Biofuels in Pittsboro, North Carolina, says Piedmont routinely shuts down in slow periods for maintenance to ensure smooth and safe operation for the high production periods. “Biodiesel plants are at their most dangerous when construction and hot work is underway,” he says. Since designs are constantly changing and improving, plants are frequently “under construction” even while fuel is still being produced. “Stop production during plant modifications,” Estill advises. “I am constantly relieved when the welding and grinding equipment is collecting dust.” In 2014, Pacific Biodiesel’s Big Island Biodiesel facility began a major effort to revamp and thoroughly examine the safety program in place at the plant in Keaau, including a complete update of its Process Safety Management program. Company vice president Kelly King says safety has been one of Pacific Biodiesel’s biggest focuses this year. “Ultimately, commercial-scale biodiesel production requires a high level of increased safety procedures and equipment that must be an integral part of the budget and SOPs,” she says. “Biodiesel is critically important for our economy and environment, but it must be manufactured safely at all scales of production for its benefits to be realized,” says Kristopher Kelley, founder and CEO of Kelley Green Biofuel. His is a small operation, producing up to 100,000 gallons a year. “Maintenance and safety are certainly connected, as failing equipment can certainly be a safety hazard,” Kelley says, adding that with a small facility, it’s manageable to check over equipment daily. He adds that a good inventory of spare parts and backups are essential so small maintenance issues can be resolved without delaying a batch. Check out the full article on page 16 for the rest of the story. And like Big Island Biodiesel’s Safety Officer Joe Kashuba says, “If you feel something is not safe, speak up. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”
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NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
COPYRIGHT © 2014 by BBI International
New US Sanctions Against Russia Impact US Biofuels Companies BY RICHARD WEINER AND SHARON K. FREIER
The U.S. federal government has recently imposed sanctions against Russian individuals and companies in response to Russia’s military action in Ukraine. These new sanctions may have adverse consequences for U.S. biofuels companies that wish to transact business in Russia or with Russian companies in various industry sectors. In March, President Obama issued three executive orders in response to Russia’s military action in Ukraine. In each of these orders, the president blocked all property and interests in property located in the U.S. or in the possession or control of a U.S. company that are owned by certain Russian individuals and entities. This means that no U.S. company may transfer, export, withdraw or otherwise deal in any such blocked Russian property. The property is frozen from use by the Russian individual or entity. Each executive order prohibited any U.S. company from making any contribution or providing any funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of any of the Russian individuals or entities and from directly or indirectly receiving any contribution, funds, goods or services from such Russian individuals or entities. The individuals and entities subject to the executive orders are included in the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury Specifically Designated Nationals List. On Sept. 12, OFAC issued the following four directives in response to the continued military aggression by Russia in Ukraine. Directive 1 prohibits any U.S. company from issuing or assisting in the issuance of any new debt with more than 30 days’ maturity or of any equity to certain individuals or entities in the Russian financial industry. Directive 2 prohibits any U.S. company from issuing or assisting in the issuance of any new debt with more than 90 days’ maturity to certain individuals or entities in the Russian energy industry. Directive 3 prohibits any U.S. company from issuing or assisting in the issuance of any new debt with more than 30 days’ maturity to certain individuals or entities in the Russian defense and related materials industry. Directive 4 prohibits any U.S. company from
engaging in (and any non-U.S. company from engaging within the U.S. in) any of the following activities: the provision, exportation or re-exportation of any goods, services (except financial services) or technology in support of exploration or production for deep water, Arctic offshore or shale projects that have the potential to produce oil in the Russian Federation or in any maritime area claimed by the Russian Federation and that involve any Russian individual or entity subject to this directive or involve such person’s interest or property. All Russian individuals and entities subject to one or more of these directives are listed on OFAC’s Sectorial Sanctions Identifications List. Given the risk to U.S. biofuels companies of violating these new U.S. sanctions, biofuel companies should undertake the following due diligence prior to consummating a transaction in Russia or with Russian individuals or entities. Obtain the name and address of each Russian purchaser of any biofuels technology, equipment or plant that might be sold by the U.S. biofuels company, as well as the names and addresses of each person or entity with an ownership interest in the Russian purchaser. Check the names and addresses of the Russian purchaser and its owners against the SDN List and the SSI List described above. If neither the Russian purchaser nor any of its owners appears on either list, then for purposes of the U.S. sanctions, the U.S. biofuels company may proceed with the transaction in Russia without concern. If, however, the Russian purchaser or one or more of its owners appears on either list, then the U.S. biofuels company must analyze the risk in proceeding with the transaction in Russia. The new U.S. sanctions imposed against certain Russian individuals and companies can make doing business in Russia a risky proposition. But by following the guidelines described above, U.S. biofuel companies can minimize the risk that conducting business operations in Russia will put them in violation of U.S. law.
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
Authors: Richard Weiner, Sharon Freier Attorneys, Fredrikson & Byron 612-492-7121 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Knowledge Best Defense for Fire Risks BY ART KRUGLER
in daily grounding to trucks and rail cars. Discharge from air hoses and even steam can create static discharges. Written hot work permit forms and procedures that require sign-off by both operations supervision and technical personnel are vital. tim spent four hours in brain surgery but survived. During the phase of process selection and Another missed death by minutes. Each accident design, there are opportunities to reduce events and involved ignorance. Biodiesel plants and oil refiner- inventory, especially inside buildings, and to reduce ies are not for the ignorant—or the inattentive. the dangers inherent in transfers. A continuous Is there any operator who does not know that process will normally have less inventory and reduce all materials in a biodiesel plant can burn and also transfer errors (e.g., overfill, transfer to a wrong explode? Still, fires occur too often and the results tank, pump against closed valves, etc.). Product can are often disastrous. Costs, legal issues and lost time be more uniform and reduce rework of off-spec after a fire are very difficult to overcome. As educa- material. This safety feature has led me to develop tor Derek Bok once said, “If you think education is a very small continuous reactor and an accurate, expensive, try ignorance.” Are there ways to reduce pulse-free methanol feed pump. Less inventory and the risk and severity of fires? For starters, a plant risk mean less fire-extinguishing equipment, less safety manual is critical. insurance premiums and lower operating expenses. We all know the fire triangle’s three sides: oxyEquipment selection can also reduce fire risk. gen, fuel and ignition. Vapor pressure of methanol is high (280 psig at 100 Oxygen is as important for us as carbon dioxpsi steam temperature) and can cause overpressure. ide is for plant life; it cannot be removed or reduced It is probably best not to heat pure methanol. Heatexcept inside tanks using inert gas. ing methanol between closed valves (a blocked-in The fuel leg of the triangle is a fertile field pump) without a relief valve can rupture pressure for wise decisions. The most hazardous material is gauges. I have witnessed an instrument technician obviously alcohol. A good source of information use “autotune mode” in a temperature controller on safety in handling this volatile chemical is the during start-up; it overshot and filled one end of Methanol Institute and its manual (www.methanol. the building with methanol vapors. Fortunately, it org). A listing of methanol incidents, pages 133did not explode. It is also good practice to minimize 147, deserves study; note the number of fires and connections, flanges and valves to help reduce leaks causes—often maintenance and hot work—and and errors. spills, which could have led to disastrous fires. The Choices made in construction materials can number of fatalities is shocking. cause—or help prevent—future fires. The Methanol Extinguishing methanol fires requires unInstitute has a section on corrosion of metals and derstanding methanol-water solubility. Methanol suitability of gaskets. It is not complete, however, mixtures of 25 percent or higher will burn. Dikes and does not cover corrosion of mixtures of around methanol tanks need to be higher to contain methanol and catalysts (sodium hydroxide, sodium diluted methanol. Plant and animal oils have high methoxide or sulfuric acid), nor are there charts of flash points, but once burning they provide great corrosion rate as mils/year versus concentration and energy, leading to total disaster. temperature. Charts for methanol, glycerin, sodium Ignition sources deserve our total attention dur- hydroxide and sodium salts can be found in Perry’s ing design and construction—and daily thereafter. Chemical Engineers’ Handbook. Building, electrical and fire codes are an excellent Biodiesel production has no more or less fire foundation. One topic of concern is electrical clas- hazard than an oil refinery. Plant personnel at all levsification of areas. Methanol is a Class 1 Group D els need to be vigilant and totally informed, realizing material. In addition to explosion-proof equipment, that what they do not know can lead to disaster. instruments and lighting, I wonder if the dimensions for sumps are adequate. Visualize what would Author: Art Krugler Principal, Krugler Engineering Group Inc. happen to vapor in a serious overflow. Static sparks 562-587-8175 and lightning are often a surprise. Grounding of all email@example.com equipment and piping is vital, requiring special care
In my background of 23 years of operations and 41 years of plant design and construction, I have witnessed seven serious fires and two explosions. One vic-
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
EVENTS CALENDAR National Biodiesel Conference & Expo
JANUARY 19-22, 2015
Fort Worth Convention Center Fort Worth, Texas The National Biodiesel Conference & Expo has grown from a small gathering to a powerful platform that drives biodiesel business all year long The event provides educational tracks for all biodiesel stakeholders—state, national, and international feedstock and feedstock processor organizations, biodiesel suppliers, fuel marketers and distributors, and technology providers—as well as networking opportunities, industry updates, and access to government leaders. 800-841--5849 | www.biodieselconference.org
International Biomass Conference & Expo APRIL 20-22, 2015
Minneapolis Convention Center Minneapolis, Minnesota Organized by BBI International and produced by Biomass Magazine, this event brings current and future producers of bioenergy and biobased products together with waste generators, energy crop growers, municipal leaders, utility executives, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, project developers, investors and policy makers. It’s a true one-stop shop—the world’s premier educational and networking junction for all biomass industries. 866-746-8385 | www.biomassconference.com
Creating Opportunity Since 1851.
International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo JUNE 1-4, 2015
Minneapolis Convention Center Minneapolis, Minnesota The FEW provides the global ethanol industry with cutting-edge content and unparalleled networking opportunities in a dynamic business-to-business environment. The FEW is the largest, longest running ethanol conference in the world― and the only event powered by Ethanol Producer Magazine. 866-746-8385 | www.fuelethanolworkshop.com
National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo OCTOBER 26-28, 2015
Century Link Center Omaha Omaha, Nebraska Produced by BBI International, this national event will feature the world of advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals—technology scale-up, project finance, policy, national markets and more—with a core focus on the industrial, petroleum and agribusiness alliances defining the national advanced biofuels industry. With a vertically integrated program and audience, the National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo is tailored for industry professionals engaged in producing, developing and deploying advanced biofuels, biobased platform chemicals, polymers and other renewable molecules that have the potential to meet or exceed the performance of petroleum-derived products. 866-746-8385 | www.advancedbiofuelsconference.com
Partnership Connecting Your Supply to the Domestic and Global Marketplace.
Community Active Participation in the Communities Where We Live and Work.
Commitment Supported by the Reliability and Financial Security of Louis Dreyfus Commodities.
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
Biodiesel News & Trends
SHOCK AND AWE: Teen founder of TGIF, Cassandra Lin, far right, was surprised on stage during a taping for the Nickelodeon HALO Awards by host Nick Cannon with a $10,000 check for her education. PHOTO: NICKELODEON
TGIF founder honored with Nickelodeon HALO Award Westerly, Rhode Island, teenager Cassandra Lin, founder of Turning Grease into Fuel (TGIF)—an organization that gets local citizens and restaurants to donate their used cooking oil for conversion to biodiesel that is then used to heat homes of families in need—was announced as a Nickelodeon HALO (Helping and Leading Others) award honoree Oct. 12 in New York City. Lin was surprised by Nick Cannon, the host, creator and executive producer of the HALO Awards, with a check for $10,000 for her college education. Lin was also a special guest at a music performance by pop star Jessie J.
The Nickelodeon HALO Awards is an hour-long concert special celebrating extraordinary youth who are involved in their communities. Led by Cannon, the star-studded musical event will be held at New York’s Pier 36 and will premiere Sunday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. Eastern Time across all Nickelodeon networks (Nickelodeon, TeenNick, Nicktoons and Nick Jr.) and will stream live for the first time ever on Nick.com and the Nick App. Lin will be part of the event airing on Nickelodeon Nov. 30, which will feature additional music performances by Nick Jonas, Meghan Trainor, Echosmith and The Vamps.
German biodiesel exports up, Netherlands top importer
Benefuel, Felda JV to retrofit 75 MMgy Malaysian plant
German biodiesel exports increased sharply over the first seven months of this year, according to Agricultural Market Information Co., based on figures from the German Federal Statistical Office. Totaling around 282.7 million gallons, biodiesel exports were up nearly 18 percent year on year. The Netherlands received more than one-third of total exports, a 33 percent increase from last year, making it the largest importer of German biodiesel. Biodiesel exports to Spain rose to 12.6 million gallons, up from only 45,330 in the same period last year. Exports to France, Belgium and Sweden also rocketed, by 135, 68 and 29 percent, respectively. France secured its spot as second largest importer of German biodiesel. Sweden, receiving 5.4 million gallons, ousted Hungary from 10th place on the list of top recipients. Between January and July, EU countries absorbed around 94 percent of German biodiesel exports.
New ownership and biodiesel process technology are planned for the 75 MMgy Mission NewEnergy plant in Kuantan Port, Malaysia. Benefuel International Holdings S.A.R.L., a subsidiary of Benefuel Inc., and a subsidiary of Felda Global Ventures Sdn. Bhd., the world’s largest crude palm oil producer, have formed a joint venture that has agreed to acquire the facility and retrofit the plant with Benefuel’s Ensel solid catalyst technology, which combines both esterification of free fatty acids and transesterification of triglycerides into a single process. The joint venture also includes M2 Capital Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of Australia’s Mission NewEnergy, the current owner of the plant. The transaction is expected to close before year’s end, and the plant is expected to be operational in late 2015. Last year, Felda Global Ventures Downstream Sdn. Bhd. acquired another biodiesel asset scaled at 30 MMgy from Mission NewEnergy on the same site.
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
Methes Energies intro’s PP-MEC catalyst
Methes Energies introduced its new biodiesel pretreatment process centered on a noncorrosive liquid catalyst it calls PP-MEC during an Aug. 28 Biodiesel Magazine webinar titled “Biodiesel Technology: Enhancing Profit through New Processing Techniques.” The company says its new pretreatment process can save biodiesel producers 8 to 10 percent on overall catalyst costs. Feedstock with up to 70 percent free fatty acids and less than 0.2 percent moisture is combined with methanol and 1,000 parts per million of PP-MEC catalyst in a high-pressure reaction vessel. The process temperatures are often less than 480 degrees Fahrenheit with pressures less than 1,000 pounds per square inch. The yield after the first step is 92 percent biodiesel, 7 percent monoglycerides, 2 percent diglycerides and glycerin with no salts or soaps. The reaction time is 5 to 15 minutes. After glycerin separation, 1 percent sodium methylate by weight is added for base transesterification of the remaining glycerides. For producers using distillers corn oil from ethanol plants, the PP-MEC pretreatment process lightens the color and requires no wax removal or degumming. The separation phase following pretreatment is easy because PP-MEC does not create an emulsion layer. Dorf Ketal Speciality Catalysts LLC will be the exclusive manufacturer of Methes Energies’ PP-MEC catalyst.
FOR SALE: Neste Oil claims its fuel is the ﬁrst to be WWFC 5 spec-compliant. PHOTO: NESTE OIL
Neste Oil renewable diesel blends now available in Lithuania Neste Oil announced that its Neste Pro Diesel containing NExBTL renewable diesel—previously only available in Finland—is now for sale in the Lithuanian market, distributed through the company’s local retail network and its 51 stations. The fuel blend contains a minimum of 15 percent renewable diesel. Neste Pro Diesel is produced at the company’s Porvoo refinery in Finland. The company says it is the first fuel to comply with the WWFC 5 specification drawn up as part of the Worldwide Fuel Charter.
New fueling permit brings biodiesel back to Maalaea Harbor Divers and crew aboard Aqua Adventures Maui are no longer breathing petroleum exhaust when they begin their diving experience from the swim step of the vessel. In a demonstration of its commitment to recycling and to the environment, the Maui “snuba” company has switched from fossil fuel to 100 percent locally produced biodiesel. Pacific Biodiesel has been producing biodiesel in Hawaii since 1996 and had delivered fuel to boats in Maalaea Harbor many years ago, but greater on-road demand on the company’s limited production made it hard to keep up with boat companies’ needs. Aqua Adventures had been using biodiesel previously and is the first boat company to fuel with Pacific Biodiesel under the new permit. “Now that we have the larger capacity, and advanced technology that produces the highest quality biodiesel in America, we are expanding into high-value tourism markets with customers who care about the environment and want to attract ecoconscious visitors to their activities,” says Bob King, president and founder of Pacific Biodiesel. “The marine industry should be first and foremost about protecting the ocean and delivering a healthier experience for ocean-goers.”
ALL ABOARD: Passengers and crew aboard Aqua Adventure, including Kelly King, Paciﬁc Biodiesel co-founder and vice president, prepare to depart Maalaea Harbor fueled by 100 percent biodiesel. PHOTO: PACIFIC BIODIESEL
Erik Stein, owner of Extended Horizons, has been using B100 in his dive charter boats since 2006. “The benefits flow to our bottom line as biodiesel burns cleaner than petro diesel, reducing our engine maintenance costs,” he says. NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
The Biodiesel Event You Can’t Afford To Miss The biodiesel industry is a complicated business to be in. Federal policy, state regulations, ASTM standards, OEMs, buying feedstock and selling fuel are all part of the everyday challenges that are faced. This young but growing industry has seen its share of unpredictability as it faces many hurdles—but you don’t have to do it alone. The National Biodiesel Board’s 2015 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo is here to help. If you play Donnell Rehagen, Chief any part in the biodiesel business, you can’t Operating Officer and afford to be anywhere else but Fort Worth, Conference Director, National Biodiesel Board Texas, Jan. 19-22. The conference is specifically designed to gather biodiesel decision makers from throughout the U.S. and the world in one place for education, and to jumpstart the year’s business. The numbers show that it works. Of last year’s attendees, 36 percent were senior executive management, with 20 percent in operations and program management. Fifty-seven percent of attendees work for either a biodiesel producer or a company that provides goods and services to the industry. A whopping 81 percent of National Biodiesel Conference attendees said they have been in the biodiesel business for five years or more. With these stats, it is no wonder our attendees tell us year after year that this is THE biodiesel event of the year, offering the opportunity to connect with business partners, vendors, customers and colleagues, all in one place. It is also no surprise that when you walk the halls of the conference there are constantly groups huddled together over deals that are surely defining the year ahead. It is like the old-school town hall where all the serious actors come together to see and hear what the future will hold and to help shape it. The business opportunities and networking rise to the top for many attendees, but we also strive to pair with it session content from some of the best and brightest minds in the industry on some of the most pressing topics. Candid discussions fill the general session stage and two and a half days of breakout sessions are designed for a deep dive into policy, technical, sustainability, petroleum and communications topics. Break-
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
A whopping 81 percent of National Biodiesel Conference attendees said they have been in the biodiesel business for five years or more.
outs include On the Frontline: Biodiesel and energy security; Policy AllStars: How leading states passed and perfected policy; A Million Minds: Those shaping the industry and ideas moving us forward; Persistence Pays: Progress with infrastructure approvals for biodiesel blends; and much more. The city of Fort Worth is a wonderful location for a conference and our hosts are ready to welcome us with some Texas hospitality. The Fort Worth Convention Center is right across the street from two beautiful hotels and within a short walk to many amazing restaurants of every flavor, perfect for hosting key clients and engaging in business meetings. Of course, the City of Cowboys and Culture also provides ample opportunities to venture out when the business of the day is done with attractions nearby like the Stockyards National Historic District, the George Bush Presidential Library in Dallas, and AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. It is difficult to say exactly what our industry’s landscape will look like when we gather in Fort Worth in January, but what is certain is that this conference will be at the center of it all. Give yourself the best edge possible to manage through the ups and downs of the biodiesel business, and be there to help shape where our industry is going as we move into the future. To register, exhibit, sponsor or see more details, visit www.biodieselconference.com. Donnell Rehagen, Chief Operating Officer and Conference Director, National Biodiesel Board
NBB Final advocacy push for biodiesel tax incentive in lame duck session The National Biodiesel Board has proactively advocated for a reinstatement of the biodiesel tax incentive since before its expiration in 2013 and is encouraging all biodiesel stakeholders and supporters to join the effort. Legislative activity this fall has remained stagnant as Congress shifted its focus to the November midterm elections. A surge in legislative activity is expected following the elections during the lame duck session in late November and December. When Congress reconvenes, it will attempt to pass a number of bills that have been set aside—including tax extenders. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, filed an amendment in early October in the Senate that would extend the biodiesel incentive for two years, retroactive for 2014 and forward though 2015. The underlying bill that Grassley is seeking to amend is a Democratic jobs bill (S. 2569 “Bring Jobs Home Act”) sponsored by Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont. While it is likely that the bill will get caught up in partisan gridlock and is unlikely to pass, it is important that biodiesel support-
ers in the Senate are maintaining their efforts to extend the incentive. This keeps the issue in front of their colleagues and reminds them that it is important unfinished business. The biodiesel tax incentive continues to enjoy bipartisan support and remains in a good position to be reinstated late in the year if Congress can come together and begin moving bipartisan legislation. The most likely vehicle for the biodiesel incentive looks to again be a comprehensive tax extenders package. It will be extremely important for all biodiesel supporters to reach out to their members of congress and tell them about the importance of passing a retroactive biodiesel tax credit for 2014 and an extension for 2015. Urge them to take action by year’s end as the tax incentive can still have an impact on 2014. For more information, contact NBB’s Washington, D.C., office at 202-737-8801 or to reach your member call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 and the House switchboard at 202-225-3121.
General sessions promise to be your most important meetings at conference You’ve held Jan. 19-22 for Fort Worth; now hold 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday for the most significant meetings of the week. These full-power, fastmoving general sessions give you industry perspective and dialogue available only at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. This is information you can’t hear second hand and can’t get from a summary. Experience for yourself the depth Valerie Patrick, Founder and expertise of the biodiesel industry and President, Fulcrum and your trade association. Connection LLC Features include political leaders, industry experts, influential CEOs, NBB leadership, and insightful and relevant keynote speakers. Here is just one preview: Valerie Patrick, founder and president of Fulcrum Connection LLC, will deliver a thought-provoking and timely keynote address. She is a trained scientist and facilitator who helps technical organizations improve productivity through critical thinking and science-based collaboration. Patrick has 25 years of corporate experience leading technical and strategic initiatives of increasing
scope to identify and pursue new sources of organizational value for both Bayer and Monsanto. Most recently, she served four years as sustainability coordinator/strategist for Bayer North America, and three years in Bayer Material Science’s innovation organization where she led the Creative Center and Transportation Industry Innovations groups. Patrick received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Bucknell University and her master’s and doctorate degrees from California Institute of Technology. She served as inaugural chairperson of the Association for Climate Change Officers board of directors and now serves on ACCO’s advisory board. She received a Silver Facilitation Impact Award from the International Association of Facilitators in 2014 for her work with the University of Pennsylvania (sponsored by the U.S. DOE) to engage market actors in identifying ways to catalyze advanced energy retrofits for small- and medium-sized commercial buildings. Patrick is a Certified Professional Facilitator, an SOQ Qualified Climate Practitioner, and a Trained Creative Problem Solving Facilitator. You won’t want to miss Patrick’s keynote, or any of the influential industry leaders featured during the conference. See you at the general sessions!
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NBB leads fight against European trade duties With millions of diesel vehicles and strong public support for renewable fuels, the European Union represents a significant market for biodiesel. It is a market that was effectively closed to U.S. producers, however, when the EU imposed trade duties in 2009 blocking U.S. biodiesel shipments that at the time totaled roughly 300 million gallons annually. Today, the EU is reviewing those trade duties and determining whether to reinstate them for another five-year period, as the European Biodiesel Board has requested. The National Biodiesel Board is leading the fight against their reinstatement. For weeks, NBB has worked with biodiesel producers and our legal team to gather sales data, import-export statistics, and other information demonstrating that the trade duties are protectionist and unnecessary. Those efforts culminated in September, when NBB filed an objection with the European Commission urging it to allow duties on U.S. biodiesel to expire this year as scheduled, citing overwhelming evidence that global trade for biodiesel has changed dramatically since the duties were imposed. In the filing, NBB emphasized that European biodiesel producers are able to sell biodiesel in both Europe and the U.S. without duties or
limitation and can freely participate in U.S. policies such as the renewable fuel standard and the U.S. biodiesel blenders tax incentive. At the least, NBB maintained, U.S. producers should be able to participate in the European market without having to pay punitive duties. “We have presented a strong case for ending these protectionist barriers that are unfairly hurting U.S. biodiesel producers even as European producers are taking advantage of the U.S. market,” said NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel. “As we speak, European biodiesel producers are sending biodiesel to the U.S., with significant policy support, while at the same time the European market has been cut off from U.S. producers.” The review process is expected to take 12 to 15 months, and the commission could decide to continue the duties or remove them in total or in part.
Minnesota biodiesel exceeding quality specifications Recent testing found biodiesel in Minnesota exceeded important fuel quality parameters set by the industry as the state completed its first successful summer run with B10 statewide. The field testing from more than 30 random retail stations scattered throughout the state of Minnesota showed biodiesel blends greatly exceeding fuel stability parameters. This real-world data showcases the recent trend in increasing biodiesel quality from coast to coast. “Biodiesel fuel quality is at an all-time high across the industry,” said Scott Fenwick, National Biodiesel Board technical director. “The recent results from the Minnesota testing are just another example of why consumers can feel confident filling up with biodiesel blends.” Oxidative stability is a key indicator of fuel quality in biodiesel blends, which is a measure of degradation caused by exposure to oxygen. Plymouth, Minnesota-based MEG Corp., a fuel consulting company, took blind samples in September from retailers across three regions in Minnesota—north, metro and south. All of the samples taken surpassed the minimum required specification for oxidative stability and nearly all of the samples were three to four times better than the minimum. Fenwick said higher values indicate even better stability, and this new real-world data is important as some original equipment manufacturers look for more assurances that biodiesel blends are meeting specifications at the pump. The
NBB welcomes new member Oilmatic Systems LLC—Keasbey, N.J. 12
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minimum stability requirements within the current biodiesel specs only recommend that biodiesel be storable for up to six months, which is more than enough time for most diesel applications. “With these high stability values we saw in Minnesota, under well-maintained storage conditions, consumers can expect the B10 that they purchased to be good for at least a year according to data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory,” said Fenwick. “To see biodiesel outperforming the very stringent specs is a great sign for the industry.”
NBB partnerships strong on World Food Day During World Food Day, the National Biodiesel Board joined soybean stakeholders in sharing the message of soy’s role in feeding a growing population. “The world has a protein gap that needs to be filled,” said American Soybean Association World Initiative for Soy in Human Health Chairman Andy Welden. “Our crop offers soybean meal for livestock feed and human food, which, at the same time, creates an abundant supply of soybean oil for biodiesel.” While biodiesel’s positive impact on the food supply is further down the list of benefits most people name for America’s advanced biofuel, behind things like energy security and environmental benefits, the impact certainly isn’t insignificant. Increased biodiesel production benefits poultry and livestock farmers as more soy oil is processed for biodiesel production, more meal is available for livestock feed. Recent analysis estimated livestock producers paid $25 per ton less for soybean meal due to the biodiesel industry’s demand for soybean oil. Along with reducing the cost of livestock feed, biodiesel also adds value to animal fats, which have been a consistent biodiesel feedstock source. More than 1.1 billion pounds of animal fats were utilized in biodiesel production in 2013 by U.S. companies, representing 25 percent of total animal fats produced. Over the past five years as U.S. exports of animal fats have significantly declined, the demand for fats and oils for biodiesel production increased the value of beef
Biodiesel’s beneﬁts to livestock producers and the food supply were highlighted with the help of industry stakeholders on World Food Day.
tallow an average of $567 million a year, pork fat an estimated $165 million, and poultry fat by more than $51 million, making the production of animal protein more economical. NBB partnered with the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health, and state soybean checkoff boards from eight states to develop and distribute educational resources. World Food Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and is observed Oct. 16.
NBB members save big through dealer discount plans Members of the National Biodiesel Board can save big on a new vehicle from Detroit’s Big Three automakers as more diesel models enter the marketplace than ever before. Through longstanding partnerships working with the automakers on biodiesel initiatives, NBB has secured access for its members to big savings on the purchase or lease of new vehicles through the Chrysler Affiliate Rewards Program, Ford X-Plan Partner Recognition Program, and General Motors’ Supplier Discount Program. This “trifecta” of NBB membership benefits has already helped more than 200 NBB members save thousands of dollars off the manufacturers’ suggested retail price on a new vehicle. Typical savings have ranged anywhere from $1,000 to $9,000 off the vehicle purchase price, depending on the vehicle make, model and options chosen and other incentives available. Ed Erickson Jr., national director for the American Soybean Association and an NBB member, said, “I can attest that the value members receive from these vehicle discount programs, along with access to so many other great educational resources, make it all worth it. Value and information—that’s what it’s about—and this is a great deal!” It’s simple to take advantage of this benefit. Current NBB members in good standing simply need to call NBB’s vehicle discount program headquarters at 800-841-5849 to register and confirm their eligibility before purchasing their vehicle. Our helpful
More than 200 members have saved thousands of dollars through the dealer pricing discount plans negotiated by NBB on behalf of members.
representatives will walk you through the simple process to access your chosen discount program through Chrysler, Ford or General Motors. Additional information on the discount programs, sample pricing, and answers to frequently asked questions can also be found under the Member Benefits section of NBB’s members-only website at www.nbb.org.
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BusinessBriefs The California Energy Commission approved a grant award of $4.18 million to biodiesel producer Community Fuels to support installation of new equipment that will increase efficiencies and expand the range of low-carbon feedstocks that its 15 MMgy Port of Stockton plant can process. “Community Fuels is currently completing two projects—expanding production capacity and building an advanced biofuel terminal,” says Lisa Mortenson, co-founder and CEO. “This new award is for a third, distinct project that is complementary to our current projects. We planned our business to be built in an incremental manner while we validated various technologies and market conditions. This new project will position Community Fuels to serve the future needs of California’s trans-
Companies, Organizations & People in the News
portation fuel market.” American Biodiesel Inc., doing business as Community Fuels, has been in operation since 2008, and built its biodiesel production facility using proprietary technology. Community Fuels was the first in the nation to earn both BQ-9000 producer and laboratory certifications. A biodiesel plant under construction at the 50 MMgy Adkins Energy LLC ethanol refinery in Lena, Illinois, was slated to produce its first gallons of fuel in October, according to Ray Baker, general manager of Adkins Energy. This first-of-its-kind, co-located and fully integrated 2 MMgy biodiesel processing facility, designed and built by WB Services LLC, is fed by distillers corn oil, a coproduct of ethanol production. The plant will be capable of both enzymatic and chemical biodiesel processing. In September, Bernie Hoffman, chief operating officer and partner at WB Services, told Biodiesel Magazine Adkins Energy personnel began training at WB Services’ now-operational 2 MMgy Green Energy Products biodiesel plant in Sedgwick,
Kansas, an identical model of the plant colocated at Adkins Energy minus the ethanol plant integration features. Blue Sun Biodiesel has received BQ-9000 Producer status from the National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission and National Biodiesel Board. Fewer than 50 companies have achieved this milestone recognition. BQ-9000 is a cooperative and voluntary program for the accreditation of producers and marketers of biodiesel fuel. The Blue Sun process includes a biodiesel distillation step, which further elevates the quality of the fuel. Blue Sun fuel exceeds ASTM D6751, particularly in low contaminants including very low monoglycerides (below 0.1 percent) and excellent cold soak performance.
From Our House to Yours.
One of America’s leading biodiesel refiners. firstname.lastname@example.org t (814) 528-9200 t 1540 East Lake Road t Erie, PA 16511 14
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BUSINESSBRIEFS Sponsored by The Blue Sun St. Joe Refinery is a 30 MMgy facility centrally located in St. Joseph, Missouri. The refinery completed its first-of-akind enzymatic transesterification process in late 2013. Startup company Corn Oil One announced it has broken ground on its new distillers corn oil (DCO) frac facility that will use a patent-pending process to purify components out of DCO, such as waxes and free fatty acids, which require pretreatment before conversion to biodiesel. The new frac plant, co-located with the 110 MMgy Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy ethanol plant in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is expected to be completed early next year. It will be scaled to process up to 15 MMgy of DCO. ICM Inc. of Colwich, Kansas, is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project. Once operational, FEC Solutions, the exclusive purchasing agent for Corn Oil One, will source millions of gallons of DCO annually for the new facility. U.S. ethanol producers supply about 200 MMgy of DCO
as a byproduct of ethanol production. The company says its new product will increase the use of DCO in biodiesel production by eliminating the need for pretreatment systems. Roughly 142 million gallons of DCO is used to produce biodiesel. Chad Stone, the chief financial officer for Renewable Energy Group Inc., has been named the new chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. Stone joined REG as its CFO in AuStone gust 2009. Prior to that, he spent more than 17 years in public accounting and consulting in various roles, including director at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago and Cincinnati and manager at Arthur Andersen in Chicago. “I am grateful for this opportunity to lead the Iowa Biodiesel Board and excited to continue the outstanding advocacy efforts of Mark Cobb, our board members and staff,” Stone says. “IBB has, and will continue
to play an instrumental role in promoting the economic, energy security, and environmental benefits that biodiesel provides to Iowa and America.” Stone holds a master’s degree in finance from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Iowa. Stone and his wife Julie live in Ames with their two sons. Porto, Portugal-based biodiesel technology provider IncBio announced it has signed a contract with SPA Renewables SA to supply a 2.4 MMgy biodiesel plant to be installed in Corinth, Greece. According to IncBio, the plant will use its ultrasonic reactors to produce EN14214 biodiesel from used cooking oil collected locally. IncBio expects the plant to be complete by the end of February. 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.
Safety Your Way Producers and technology providers discuss procedural and design elements to mitigate risk in biodiesel manufacturing BY RON KOTRBA
A philosophical problem exists when an industry whose mission is to improve humanity through environmental stewardship and creation of warfree fuel has a notoriously poor safety record— one that puts workers and nearby residents at risk. “Biodiesel is critically important for our economy and environment, but it must be manufactured safely at all scales of production for its benefits to be realized,” says Kristopher Kelley, founder and CEO of Kelley Green Biofuel, a farm-based biodiesel operation in Goshen, Kentucky. Lyle Estill, president of Piedmont Biofuels in Pittsboro, North Carolina, says safety is a culture. “When you change the stories, you change the culture,” he says. “Constantly telling the stories of safe operation is not as dramatic as telling the stories of danger and close calls, but both are critically important. Making fuel is hot, heavy, smelly, greasy, dangerous work, and it is imperative that everyone understand that up front.” Methanol is clearly the most dangerous chemical culprit at biodiesel facilities, and therefore it is also the biggest concern when designing and operating a plant safely. “It is an explosion hazard, an environmental hazard and a hazard to humans due to its toxicity,” says Derek Masterson, biodiesel product sales manager with Crown Iron Works. “As with any processing plant, the issue comes down to the customer’s safety mindset, and this trickles down to the operators.” CIW has designed a number of large-scale biodiesel plants all over the world. The company uses sealless pumps when the liquid being pumped contains methanol, or may contain methanol in a plant upset condition. CIW also designs plants to operate at the lowest temperature and pressure economically feasible. It employs motors and instrumentation classified as intrinsically safe or explosion-proof. Vessels that contain methanol, or may contain it in a plant upset, are blanketed with nitrogen. “These same vessels are connected to a common header and vent stack in order to quickly evacuate methanol vapor in case of overpressure resulting from a process upset or extra heat and pressure added due to a fire,” Masterson says. The control system includes the appropriate visual and audible alarms for conditions that would cause concern, such as high temperature or pressure, or low cooling water flow. “We also recommend the installation of floors and drains so that methanol cannot pool and concentrate,” he adds. “We recommend the use of methanol vapor detectors at strategic points throughout the building. This is usually done in conjunction with local authorities and the customer’s insurance company. Again, per local authorities and insurance, we recommend the customer find a way to vent the building in the case of the detection of a high level of methanol.” 16
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Process technology provider WB Services also installs nitrogen blankets on tanks that have methanol in sufficient quantities to cause a flammable environment. Ron Beemiller, president and CEO, says they employ methanol recovery to collect vapors vented off the process tanks, and fusible link valves on tanks that have biodiesel and methanol in them so they don’t feed a fire. The process building also contains a sprinkler system. “In addition to standard NFPA requirements, fire protection equipment is generally dictated by insurance provider requirements,” he says. “That said, it’s highly recommended that, at a minimum, plants integrate a sprinkler system, nitrogen blankets on critical tanks, as well as coordinate with local fire departments to maintain a supply of the proper foam product.” The nitrogen system and ensuring oxygen concentration is maintained below the lower explosive limit are paramount to plant safety, he adds. Kelley says safety practices at his facility have greatly improved since he first started making biodiesel in 2008, thanks in part to process consultant Link Shumaker. “He has had a lot of experiences at other plants regarding plant safety, both good and bad,” Kelley says. “We tried to pull together some best practices for how we operate at Kelley Green.” For making methoxide, KGB uses a totally closed vessel with an airpowered mixer. Though the facility is well ventilated, Kelley says before installing the methanol vent system, methanol could be smelled in the air during certain parts of the process. He uses a personal methanol meter by Drager to help determine exposure points, giving alarms at 10 and 20 ppm, below the level that can be smelled. “If you can smell methanol, it's too much to be exposed to for extended periods of time,” Kelley says. “Our ventilation system drastically reduced the readings in the production facility.” Kelley and Shumaker designed a methanol vapor ventilation-recovery system at KGB. “We built the system with a hazardous location fan and PVC tubing,” Kelley says. “In order to dissipate electrical charges inside the plastic vent lines, we ran stainless bonding wire throughout the system.” All tanks that contain methanol or methanol vapor are grounded. The process moves methanol by vacuum rather than using multiple hazardous location pumps and motors. KGB also has a book of Standard Operating Procedures that describes how to do each task safely. Also, the plant’s personal protection equipment (PPE) is located in a central location where personnel know to find it. Estill says Piedmont has moved from being “lackadaisical to religious” about maintaining a ready supply of PPE. Now, face masks, ear plugs, gloves, respirators, aprons, harnesses, hard hats, welding masks and more are available for operators in every building. “For these items to be readily used, they need to be readily accessible and in good working order,” Estill says. “That's easier said than done—since plastic cracks,
GEARED UP: Kristopher Kelley, founder of Kelley Green Biofuel, says safety practices have improved greatly since 2008 at his 100,000-gallon-per-year farm-based biodiesel plant. PHOTO: KELLEY GREEN BIOFUEL
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SAFETY and items become grease-ensconced and unusable. Keeping a fleet of PPE in order requires constant attention and investment.” Piedmont has a safety committee that routinely walks the plant and makes recommendations for change or improvement. “We have a constant list that is regularly updated,” Estill says. The plant’s sprinklers, exit signs and fire extinguishers are also inspected annually, and a plantwide siren alarm is utilized for periodic fire drills. In 2014, Pacific Biodiesel’s Big Island Biodiesel facility began a major effort to revamp and thoroughly examine the safety program in place at the plant in Keaau, including a complete update of its Process Safety Management program. “Whenever changes to any portion of a process are amended, these standards and our in-house PSM need to be reviewed and a management of change is completed,” says Michael Heinemann, director of operations for Pacific Biodiesel Technologies. The plant segregates all methylated materials, equipment and systems into a Class I Division II area that utilizes intrinsically safe equipment and an enclosed vapor recovery system to blanket all process vessels with inert nitrogen gas to minimize the chance of any flammables or combustibles igniting. “This area is surrounded in its entirety by a containment wall to prevent any spilled materials from being released to surrounding areas or the environment,” he adds. “All laborers in our industry have the right to a safe work environment, and we strive to ensure our employees have the knowledge and information available to determine on their own whether their work environment is safe or not.” Automation is also essential, Heinemann says, to ensure critical components be controlled quickly to facilitate safe, steady-state operating parameters, and to allow operators to do this remotely from a safe vantage point outside the hazardous area. Since operations began, the facility has procured various air monitoring equipment to ensure a safe atmosphere for employee exposure. Volatile Organic Compound meters are used for industrial hygiene, leak detection and HazMat response. Heinemann says since annual rainfall can exceed 12 feet of rain per year, raised grating was installed within the containment areas.
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Training and Maintenance No one, including interns, starts work at Piedmont without first reading its Health and Safety manual. Every new employee gets a hazardous material and safety walk through, and new employees are unable to perform certain tasks without completing training such as confined space entry or forklift operation. Employees certified in these tasks watch a video on each one every year as a refresher, Estill says. WB provides an in-house, three-day training at its Green Energy Products biodiesel plant in Sedgwick, Kansas. Plant operators participate in a classroom setting where SOPs are reviewed in detail, including the proper PPE for each procedure. “Specifically, the methanol recovery process and establishing a nitrogen blanket are standalone SOPs that are reviewed in depth,” Beemiller says. “In addition to the classroom setting, operators participate in hands-on exercises that always highlight the safety components of each process.” CIW educates its customers on the hazards of methanol and why plant safety is important. “We discuss the safety features of the plant,” he says. “We talk about startup and shutdowns. We discuss many of these issues before the plant is delivered so that the equipment outside our scope, such as fire suppression, methanol detection and vent fans, is included in the building design from the beginning. We make the point that a trained staff is essential to smooth and safe operation.” The first step for a new employee at BIB is becoming familiar with its Emergency Action Plan and being issued the appropriate PPE. The EAP details an expedited emergency shutdown procedure, “which is as simple as pushing a single button to initiate a full, controlled plant shutdown with no plant operators necessary,” Heinemann says. After this, the employees are provided with OSHA Outreach Training that focuses on general industry, American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid/ CPR/Automated External Defibrillator, and Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response awareness training. Heinemann says the facility employs an on-site safety coordinator in conjunction with safety officers on every shift. “Education and training are absolutely necessary
SAFETY Vice president of Pacific Biodiesel Kelly King says, ultimately, commercial-scale biodiesel production requires a high level of increased safety procedures and equipment that must be an integral part of the budget and SOPs. “If you feel something is not safe, speak up,” says BIB Safety Officer Joe Kashuba. “Safety is everyone’s responsibility.” Author: Ron Kotrba Editor, Biodiesel Magazine 218-745-8347 email@example.com
ct i o n s
“Maintenance and safety are certainly connected, as failing equipment can certainly be a safety hazard,” Kelley says, adding that with a small facility, it’s manageable to check over equipment daily. “We try to lubricate gear boxes and bearings on regular intervals,” he says. “There is very little automation in the plant, so the operator generally knows when something starts to act unusually or needs attention.” He adds that a good inventory of spare parts and backups are essential so small maintenance issues can be resolved without delaying a batch.
by C o n n e
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to ensuring that proper work practices are being followed,” Heinemann says. Preventative maintenance is safety, according to Heinemann. “If the integrity of the systems used to process biodiesel is in question, then everyone’s safety is in question,” he says. Leaking seals of pumps transferring flammable or combustible materials can lead to fires. Loose hardware on a flange that is backing off due to equipment vibrations can lead to gaskets blowing out and potential injury. Ensuring proper operation of pressure-sensing and pressure-relief valves can prevent a vessel from rupturing or imploding. “Safe working practices are an integral part of maintenance,” Heinemann says. “Hot work permit requirements, confined space permit requirements, PPE and job hazard analysis are some of the things that ensure maintenance is performed safely.” Estill says Piedmont routinely shuts down in slow periods for maintenance to ensure smooth and safe operation for the high production periods. “Biodiesel plants are at their most dangerous when construction and hot work is underway,” he says. Since designs are constantly changing and improving, plants are frequently “under construction” even while fuel is still being produced. “Stop production during plant modifications,” advises Estill. “I am constantly relieved when the welding and grinding equipment is collecting dust.” Every safety system has its own maintenance schedule determined by its manufacturer. “This is what we recommend as a starting point,” Masterson says. For example, methanol detectors must be checked for effectiveness, and vent fans and eye-washing stations should be tested. “We would not recommend ignoring any maintenance, as all items are important to a safe plant,” he says. While drips and leaks may seem like minor occurrences, Beemiller says they are a major concern from a maintenance and safety perspective. “Pools of methanol or biodiesel left alone will be huge slip and fall, and fire hazards,” he says. “Biodiesel is known to be susceptible to spontaneous combustion under the right conditions, and plants must be vigilant on repairing leaks and properly disposing of rags, filters and other materials that have been used in cleanup of leaks.”
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Global Biodiesel Additive Research Roundup A sampling of biodiesel additive and diluent R&D from around the world BY RON KOTRBA
A recent report issued by Grand View Research Inc. indicates the global market for specialty fuel additives is expected to reach $8.5 billion by 2020.
Surging global demand for ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) is predicted to position diesel ahead of gasoline as the leading application market for specialty fuel additives by 2020. GVR estimates the diesel market for specialty fuel additives will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5 percent from 2014 to 2020. More specifically, cold flow improvers (CFIs) are predicted to be the fastest growing product segment with an estimated CAGR of 7.9 percent from 2014 to 2020. Clearly there is money to be made and room for improvement in the biodiesel additive market. Researchers around the world are exploring new ways to improve cold flow additives and diluents, and better understand interactions of additives with aging fuel blends’ petroleum and biogenic components. In Malaysia, researchers published a paper this year titled, “Influence of Chemical Blends on Palm Oil Methyl Esters’ Cold Flow Properties and Fuel Characteristics.” The authors—Universiti Malaysia Pahang’s Obed M. Ali, Rizalman Mamat and Abdul Adam Abdullah, University of Southern Queensland’s Talal Yusaf, and Universiti Teknologi MARA’s Nik R. Abdullah—set out to evaluate the improvement of properties of palm biodiesel from adding ethanol, butanol and diethyl ether, and how these additions affect energy content of the fuel, engine power and fuel consumption. The researchers note that addition of ethanol, butanol and diethyl ether can cause a regular low temperature operability improvement of palm oil biodiesel with the increase in additive proportion. Increasing additive content resulted in a significant improvement in pour point (PP) with a maximum decrease of 5 degrees Celsius in PP at 5 percent diethyl ether compared to palm B100. Additionally, a statistically significant PP variation between the different chemical additives was observed as the mean palm B100 PP temperature with diethyl ether being around 1 C less than that with ethanol and 2 C less than that with butanol at 5 percent blending ratio. A linear reduction in palm oil biodiesel kinematic viscosity and density was indicated with an increase in the chemical additive blending ratios. The lower viscosity was for blends of biodiesel-diethyl ether blend mixtures with 16.5 percent reductions at 5 percent blending ratio compared to palm B100, whereas
biodiesel-butanol blends mixtures were progressively more viscous. The research shows that palm B100 with diethyl ether blend exhibited optimum properties with slightly superior cold flow performance, kinematic viscosity, heating value, acid value and engine performance in comparison to ethanol and butanol, suggesting that diethyl ether may be the most prudent choice among the selected additive-biodiesel blends. In the U.S., USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist Robert Dunn is well-known for his work over the years to understand and improve cold flow characteristics of biodiesel. This year, he and colleagues from USDA-ARS Helen Ngo and Michael Haas conducted a study titled, “Improving the Cold Flow Properties of Biodiesel by Skeletal Isomerization of Fatty Acid Chains.” “I wanted to know if the basic chemical structure of biodiesel could be altered by organic synthesis to improve their cold flow properties,” Dunn tells Biodiesel Magazine. Co-author Ngo came up with a way to alter the normal structure of oleic acid and produce mixtures of iso-oleic and iso-stearic acids that could be esterified and then mixed with ordinary biodiesel. He says the objective was to alter the straight hydrocarbon chain part of the fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) structure to introduce a small degree of branching. “This would allow the synthesized ‘BC (branched chain)-FAME’ to have very good cold flow properties with hopefully very little increase in fluid viscosity. Knowing that the synthesis process might prove to be expensive, it was my idea to try them as additives/diluents in mixtures with ordinary biodiesel.” BC-FAME isomers were tested in B100 from canola, soybean and palm oils. CFIs made for biodiesel blends generally work only on the petroleum diesel portion of the blend. “CFI additives are most effective in blends with lower ratios of biodiesel present,” Dunn says. “According to the literature, most CFI additives are composed of comb-shaped copolymers that have a hydrocarbon backbone with small functional groups periodically attached along the chain. The hydrocarbon chain resembles a saturated alkane while the functional groups act like teeth to hinder crystalline growth. Some additives are designed to coat crystal nuclei as the form to prevent them from growing and agglomerating to form larger crystals. Since the crystal/additive complexes have generally a higher density, they eventually begin to settle. Thus, the second type of additive is known as wax anti-settling additives.” Dunn says in order for a CFI additive to work, crystal nuclei must
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RESEARCH have begun to form. Afterward, the additives co-crystallize inside the crystal allowing them to activate and disrupt the packing inside the lattice. “This causes the crystal shape and growth rate to change, keeping them small and needle-shaped, and allowing them to penetrate the filters and other obstructions in various fueling systems,” he says. “For an additive to be effective for biodiesel, it is my belief that a similar strategy would be effective. That is, the main structure of the additive would resemble a normal, saturated C18-C20 hydrocarbon chain and have small functional groups attached to the chain that disrupt the packing
inside the crystal. An easy way to test this hypothesis was to synthesize the two BC-FAME isomers and test them in mixtures with ordinary biodiesel.” The best results were seen with higher concentrations of BC-FAME. “The additives were more effective when present at 20 to 39 percent by mass and probably should be classified as diluents,” Dunn says. He defined “additive” levels as being up to 2 percent by mass, and diluents levels has being higher. The results were not greatly different when compared to weighted average cloud point (CP) and PP values taken between the unmixed ordinary bio-
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NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
diesel and BC-FAME. “That is,” he explains, “the results appear to be linear at all mixture levels between 0.5 and 50 percent by mass. Effects became noticeable only at the higher BC-FAME concentrations.” All the biodiesels tested responded in the same manner with no particular feedstock demonstrating a favorable response. “The study also found that the iso-stearic BC-FAME were as effective as the iso-oleic BC-FAME, at least in terms of reducing the CP and PP of soybean and palm oil FAME.” He says the canola oil FAME demonstrated a split response. The iso-stearate BC-FAME was more effective in reducing CP of canola oil FAME while the iso-oleate BC-FAME was more effective in reducing PP of canola oil FAME. “My explanation for the latter has to do with similarities between the hydrocarbon chain structures where both are C17 or C18 and monounsaturated,” Dunn says. “I do not have an explanation for the former, and can only say that it may have to do with compatibilities between the higher-melting components in the canola oil FAME—that is, the 6 percent saturated FAME—and the iso-stearate BC-FAME. If the higher melting components begin to crystallize and precipitate first, then they may be complexing with the BC-FAME when it is present in the mixture.” The CP and PP of ordinary biodiesel decreased mainly as a result of dilution with the BC-FAME. “Statistical analysis indicated that 5 to 10 percent by mass BC-FAME was necessary to effectively decrease CP and PP,” Dunn says. These decreases, however, were relatively small at less than 2 C. “The more practical comparison, made by decreasing CP or PP by at least 5 C, indicated 20 to 39 percent by mass of the BC-FAME was necessary,” he says. Though Dunn admits using BC-FAME to improve biodiesel cold flow is not economical, he says the research may demonstrate that biodiesel composed of at least partially branched-chain esters are more attractive with respect to improved cold flow properties. “The procedure may be applied in two forms,” he says. “Synthesis from oleic acid followed by mixing with ordinary biodiesel, or partial synthesis performed directly on the ordinary diesel. In terms of developing CFI additives for biodiesel, it shows that the main structure should resemble a FAME molecule, not necessarily an alkane such as what has been done in the past. Additives or diluents specific to improving the cold flow
RESEARCH properties of biodiesel need to incorporate the FAME structure, not just a medium chain alkane, as a basis for development. These structures may be more sensitive to co-crystallizing with crystal nuclei as they form in biodiesel.” Finally, Dunn notes that many of the previous attempts to modify the fatty acid tailgroup structure have resulted in molecules with enhanced cold flow properties at the expense of significantly increased fluid viscosities. “The BC-FAME tested in our study had very good cold flow properties in unmixed form and relatively low viscosities—5.6 and 6.0 centistokes at 40 C,” he says. Hamburg, Germany-based DGMK is managing a project in cooperation with AGQM for the Oel-Waerme-Institut GmbH investigating how aging, additized heating oil blended with biodiesel interacts with freshly added fuel. The project summary states, “It is necessary to clarify if and which interaction may occur between existing aging products and components of the fresh fuel delivery; additives and their mechanisms as well as their effects on storage, compatibility with materials and combustion will be focused on in particular.” The objective of the 30-month long, ongoing project is to determine whether fuel aging can be depicted by a standardized test method. “Aging products that form in fuel-FAME blends are analyzed to be able to identify those aging products responsible for potentially negative interaction,” the project summary states. “Furthermore, probable interaction between aging products and additives shall be illustrated. For that purpose, the refueling circumstances are imitated by aging a fuel admixed with performance additives both in a laboratory and on a pump test stand and then mixing it with fresh fuel also admixed with additives.” R&D at the Oil Additives Team of Germany-based Evonik Corp. is currently focused on market-driven application testing, says Brian Hess, Evonik account manager. “For example, we’re looking at different combinations of ULSD No. 2 with biodiesel and different ratios of biodiesel and fossil diesel.” Through intensive innovation efforts over the past few years, Evonik has built a full range of CFIs for various feedstock-based biodiesels. “In addition, we laid the groundwork for introducing additives that improve the low temperature performance of biodiesel blends and fossil diesel,” Hess adds. Evonik’s latest biodiesel R&D has led to the development of new multifunctional CFIs. For example,
Evonik’s Viscoplex 10-608 is able to treat both fossil fuel and biodiesel blends. Viscoplex 10-780 provides both cold flow improvement and oxidation stability. “Our objective is to make our products more robust and more versatile for use across a variety of feedstocks,” Hess tells Biodiesel Magazine. “We have a full range of CFIs adapted to different feedstocks and each of Evonik’s biodiesel products have been evaluated with the complete battery of relevant tests: CP, PP; cold filter plugging point (CFPP): and the cold soak filtration test (CSFT). Compared to
blending with less saturated, more expensive B100, the use of cold flow additives can often be a cost-effective solution to achieve desired low-temperature properties.” Author: Ron Kotrba Editor, Biodiesel Magazine 218-745-8347 firstname.lastname@example.org
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NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
SAFETY FIRST: A simple solution was employed at Texon LP’s Houston biodiesel distribution terminal that has reduced its risk of spontaneous combustion of its biodiesel-soaked spun fiberglass cartridge filters. PHOTO: TEXON LP
Reducing Risk of Spontaneous Combustion Industry and academia work together to find a solution to a common biodiesel fire hazard BY ROB FRANSHAM AND JON VAN GERPEN
Biodiesel-coated materials can, in rare circumstances, spontaneously ignite causing damage both large and small. Much information
on this phenomenon is available, including in Biodiesel Magazine archives. The mechanisms of biodiesel spontaneous combustion are not completely understood, which is why it is one of the subjects that the University of Idaho has researched for the USDA. Spontaneous combustion occurs when heat, resulting from chemical or biological reactions, accumulates in loosely piled flammable materials. The resulting rise in temperature accelerates the reaction rate, which further increases the temperature, culminating in smoke and open flame. Biodiesel feedstocks with at least two double
bonds in their carbon chains are particularly susceptible to oxidative reactions and are a greater risk than petroleum-based fuels, which have almost no double bonds in their structures. In addition to an oxidation-prone fuel, spontaneous combustion requires that the fuel have access to sufficient air to oxidize the fuel but not too much air circulation, which could cause the heat of reaction to be dissipated. This situation frequently involves fuel-soaked rags or filter media. Plant operators and biodiesel transporters are encouraged to use good housekeeping practices to lessen the risk of a fire. A solution recommended by many is to store biodiesel-contaminated absorbent materials under water in a closed container. That solution, in Texon’s experience, is only temporary because
The claims and statements made in this article belong exclusively to the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Biodiesel Magazine or its advertisers. All questions pertaining to this article should be directed to the author(s).
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
FIRED UP: Heat damage can occur to biodiesel-soaked media just 24 hours after a water bath if the material is exposed to hot weather conditions.
MELTDOWN: If exposed to the Houston summer heat without water submersion, a portion of the used ﬁlter elements can heat up enough to create visible smoke and some melting of the plastic container.
PHOTO: TEXON LP
PHOTO: TEXON LP
eventually the biodiesel-coated material is removed from the container and when the water evaporates the biodiesel is again exposed to air. At its biodiesel terminal site in Houston, Texon uses spun fiberglass cartridge filters in the biodiesel truck offloading system to protect the system from debris. After those filters accumulate contaminants they are removed and drained and stored in a waste receptacle. Texon’s recent experience was that, when exposed to the Houston summer heat without water submersion, a portion of the used filter elements could heat up enough to create visible smoke and some melting of the plastic container. Even with water submersion, in our experience, similar heat damage could occur as quickly as 24 hours after the filters were removed from the water bath. A simple solution was employed at Texon’s site that has reduced its risk of spontaneous combustion, at a reasonable cost. Used filter elements were first submerged in a motor oil bath for a few minutes, and then allowed to drain before placing in the waste container. To ensure that there was no spontaneous combustion, the oil-treated filters were monitored for two weeks before they were released for disposal. Apparently, the biodiesel is leached from the filter elements into the motor oil and is replaced by the oil itself, which is much more oxidatively stable. Motor oil consists mostly of saturated hydrocarbon molecules with large amounts of antioxidants that serve to slow the degradation of the oil as it lubricates the engine. This lack of double bonds and the presence of antioxidants slows the heat produc-
tion process so that natural dissipation of the heat of reaction lowers the ability to reach combustion temperatures. A motor oil-wetted filter is easily recycled by the oil filter recycling industry, allowing for safe and efficient disposal. Eventually, the motor oil bath accumulates enough biodiesel Fransham contamination that Texon disposes of the oil via the waste fuels industry. The risk of spontaneous combustion in this specific situation was reduced by a simple and safe technique. We believe that this approach can be used in many other situations to reduce biodiesel handling risks. Of course, every plant or terminal operator should evaluate its own risks and determine its own best practices based on its unique circumstances and conditions. Van Gerpen An industry that shares safety best practices among themselves makes everyone better able to protect their employees, the communities within which we operate, and the industry itself. The authors present this safety tip with that principle in mind. Authors: Rob Fransham, Jon Van Gerpen Renewable Fuels General Manager, Texon LP Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering, University of Idaho firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2014
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November/December 2014 Biodiesel Magazine