Page 1


Pure Gold Experts Discuss Various Biodiesel Purification Techniques Including Water Washing, Polishing, Ion Exchange, Enzymes and Distillation Pages 18, 30

And A Look at Minnesota’s Decision to

Delay the Move from B5 to B10 Page 24




REACTION in Purifying Your Biodiesel

For Optimal Removal of Polar Compounds GlyceRx™ is a chemically inert adsorptive media that is a direct replacement for resins, and is VSHFL¿FDOO\ designed for removing polar compounds. It is less costly, does not raise the FFA level, offers feedstock ÀH[LELOLW\FDQEHKRXVHGLQWUHDWPHQWWRZHUVDQGFDQEHGLVSRVHGRIYLDODQG¿OO

© 2012 Schroeder Industries.











Polishing Perspectives

Delaying the Move to B10

The Final Treatment

Purification approaches for alternative processes


Minnesota pushes back its mandate increase


Advertiser Index 38 2012 Algae Biomass Summit 40 2012 National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo 35 2013 National Biodiesel Conference 11 California Biodiesel Alliance 23 Cognis Corp/Qta Group 33 Crown Iron Works Company 34 EcoEngineers 10 Eide Bailly, LLP 39 FCStone Inc. 22 Flottweg Separation Technology 20 Frazier, Barnes & Associates, LLC 7 GEA Westfalia Separator 26 Iowa Central Fuel Testing Lab 28 Jatrodiesel, Inc. 9 Lindquist & Vennum PLLP 27 Louis Dreyfus 16 Methes Energies 32 National Biodiesel Board 17 Oil-Dri Corporation of America 2 Schroeder Industries 29 Southeastern Illinois College 21 Velcon Filters

A producer’s perspective on backend procedures


DEPARTMENTS 4 Editor’s Note Complexities

BY RON KOTRBA 5 Legal Perspectives

Overview of the JOBS Act of 2012

BY LEANNA D. WHIPPLE 6 Talking Point

Biodiesel Purification: Finding the Right Fit

BY WILL SMITH 7 Biodiesel Events 8 FrontEnd

Biodiesel News & Trends

12 Inside NBB 16 Business Briefs

Companies, Organizations & People in the News

36 Marketplace

Biodiesel Magazine: (USPS No. 023-975) May/June 2012, Vol. 9, Issue 3. 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.

MAY | JUNE 2012






Ron Kotrba

Editor Biodiesel Magazine

Ron Kotrba Editor Erin Voegele Associate Editor Jan Tellmann Copy Editor P U B L I S H I N G Mike Bryan



Joe Bryan


Tom Bryan

Vice President

Matthew Spoor Howard Brockhouse

Vice President, Sales & Marketing Executive Account Manager

Jeremy Hanson

Senior Account Manager

Marty Steen

Account Manager

Bob Brown

Account Manager

Andrea Anderson Dave Austin Jessica Beaudry

Account Manager Account Manager Circulation Manager

Marla DeFoe

Advertising Coordinator

John Nelson

Senior Marketing Manager

Jaci Satterlund Elizabeth Burslie

For anyone who thinks the biodiesel production process is a simple, cut-and-dried, cookie-cutter procedure, consider this.


A R T Art Director Graphic Designer

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 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 701-7468385 or 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 rkotrba@

There are multitudes of feedstocks, for starters, each of which may require pretreatment options in one form or another. Free fatty acids on the frontend can be handled in one of many ways, including acid esterification, glycerolysis or simple removal for sale in other markets, to name a few. Or, in the case of some newer production technologies, the free fatty acids can simply be mixed with the triglycerides for single-step esterification/transesterification. Scores of main conversion options are available, including the most common approach, homogeneous base chemical catalysis with sodium or potassium hydroxide. Then there is also heterogeneous powder catalysis to consider, such as that offered by Catilin, and solid catalyst methods. Just recently, enzymatic conversion routes have surfaced by companies such as Piedmont, which is working with Novozymes, and Biodiesel Experts International, which is working with Isreal-based Transbiodiesel. On the backend, there are several fuel purification options, including water and caustic water washing, dry washing using various media or ion exchange resins, and now enzymatic polishing. For problematic feedstocks, the final treatment that works every time, while expensive to build and operate, is distillation. Over the years, the biodiesel fuel quality specification has evolved as a result of issues in the marketplace, concerns from oil companies and states being required to blend biodiesel, the introduction of alternative feedstocks, and the forethought of dedicated biodiesel industry personnel. With tighter specifications come improved production and purification processes. For instance, the introduction of the cold soak filtration test in the quality specification has led to some producers chilling down their fuel and warming it back up again to remove any impurities such as sterols, which, if not removed, would lead to a failed CSFT and, if that fuel entered the marketplace, clogged filters. In this issue, we bring you features and columns focused on biodiesel purification, including some of the latest developments in enzymatic polishing. Enjoy the content and let us know what you think.

Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts or samples before recycling TM




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COPYRIGHT Š 2012 by BBI International


Overview of the JOBS Act of 2012 BY LEANNA D. WHIPPLE

On April 5, President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the JOBS Act).

Passed with bipartisan support, the JOBS Act is designed to reduce the regulatory burdens associated with raising capital via public and private offerings of securities for emerging companies. The JOBS Act creates a new class of issuer called an emerging growth company (EGC), which is defined as having total annual gross revenues of less than $1 billion during its most recently completed fiscal year. An EGC keeps that classification for five years after its initial public offering (IPO) unless certain other definitional benchmarks are met sooner. However, companies do not qualify for EGC status if they completed a sale of common stock in a registered public offering on or before Dec. 8, 2011. Under the JOBS Act, EGCs are relieved of many of the burdens formerly associated with an IPO. For example, they may test the waters of an IPO by discussing it with individuals who qualify as accredited investors or qualified institutional buyers before the public offering is conducted. Companies should be careful in these communications, however, as some liability will still be attached. EGCs are also exempt from the auditor attestation requirements under Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley. An EGC may also file its initial registration statement drafts with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on a confidential basis until the statement is declared effective, as long as the drafts are filed publicly within 21 days of conducting a road show presentation. Thus, companies can avoid any bad publicity that may result from not being able to finish an IPO. Companies can elect to opt out of the EGC exemptions. The JOBS Act also increases the threshold for registration under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the ‘34 Act) for private companies from 500 shareholders to 2,000, excluding employees who own shares under a compensation plan and shares issued in a crowdfunding transaction (see below), as long as there are no more than 499 unaccredited investors. The SEC has 270 days after enactment to adopt regulations implementing the new threshold requirements. Interestingly, unless the issuer is a bank or bank holding company, the 300-shareholder threshold for deregistration remains unchanged. Banks and bank holding companies may now deregister if they fall below 1,200 shareholders.

Additionally, the JOBS Act creates a new crowdfunding exemption for offerings of up to $1 million over a 12-month period, provided the issuer files a disclosure document with the SEC, uses a qualified broker/funding portal as a middle-man, and complies with certain individual investment limits based on that investor's income and net worth. The investors, however, do not have to qualify as accredited investors. This new offering mechanism will presumably pave the way for Web-based offerings for entrepreneurs who may otherwise have a difficult time finding capital through traditional loans. The SEC has 270 days after enactment to issue rules implementing the crowdfunding provisions. Until those rules are issued, this new exemption is unavailable. Further, the JOBS Act requires the SEC to change the rules on general solicitation and advertising in connection with a private offering of securities under Rule 506 of Regulation D. Rule 506 exempts offerings of an unlimited amount to accredited investors and no more than 35 nonaccredited investors. Currently, issuers are prohibited from advertising these offerings to potential investors with whom they have no prior significant relationship. The JOBS Act removes this restriction as long as all of the purchasers of the securities are accredited investors. This means that issuers conducting these offerings could run ads in newspapers or online. The SEC has 90 days from enactment to issue regulations implementing this provision. In the meantime, companies should maintain the status quo and follow the existing rules prohibiting such general solicitation and advertising. Finally, the JOBS Act asks the SEC to create an enhanced so-called mini public offering available under Regulation A of the Securities Act of 1933, raising the $5 million cap to $50 million, with a requirement that the issuer file certain periodic reports with the SEC. This article simply summarizes some of the important provisions of the JOBS Act and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have specific questions, please contact your attorney or a member of the BrownWinick corporate and securities practice group. Author: Leanna D. Whipple Attorney, BrownWinick (515) 242-2433

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Biodiesel Purification: Finding the Right Fit BY WILL SMITH

In 16 years of dealing with problematic feedstock, Pacific Biodiesel Technologies has evaluated dozens of biodiesel purification means. Finding the right process for a facility and feedstock is always challenging. The first step is to classify and quantify contaminants. Major contaminants come from reaction processes or feedstock adulterants. Process contaminants include free glycerin, residual glycerides, soaps, fatty acids and water. Feedstock contaminants include gums/phosphatides, sulfur-containing compounds, polymers, sterols, proteins and oil decomposition products. Biodiesel plants utilizing degummed, refined vegetable oils or animal fats can employ various purification methods, provided process chemistry is controlled to reduce soap formation. Water wash is a time-tested, proven purification method used throughout the industry. A welldesigned water wash system can be extremely effective in removing process contaminants like glycerin and soaps, but a major limitation is its low effectiveness in removing feedstock contaminants such as sterols and unsaponifiable matter, which can increase cold soak filtration time. This has led some facilities to retrofit with post-filtration systems, utilizing filter aid and chilling the biodiesel to coagulate and remove contaminants. Some water wash systems don’t recycle wash water, resulting in a problematic waste stream. For smaller facilities processing refined vegetable oils or animal fats, a variety of disposable ion exchange resins are available for purification. Their performance is similar to water wash in removing soaps and free glycerin, but limited in removal of feedstock contaminants. The major advantages of ion exchange resins are low capital cost and elimination of emulsions and wastewater streams. Both water wash and ion exchange resins are selective, efficient, proven purification methods. Problems arise, however, when they are applied to feedstock and contaminant levels for which they weren’t designed. When processing oil with higher free fatty acids (FFA), without esterification or refining to remove FFA, soap levels increase dramatically and yields plummet. Most water wash operational problems stem from emulsions due to high soap levels. Similarly, ion exchange resins have a drastically reduced lifespan when exposed to high soap levels or phosphatides, require more frequent replacement, and increase the acid value and cold soak filtration of the fuel, driving up operating costs. 6



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Low-quality feedstock such as used cooking oil, yellow grease, tallow, chicken fat and crude corn oil have high levels of contaminants, challenging traditional process chemistry and purification methods. The wide variability in feedstock quality depends on supplier, lot and seasonal variation. Aside from obvious challenges converting lowquality feedstock to crude ester, purification methods must be robust and adaptable to handle variation. Silica purification is used at several PBT-built facilities and is a popular, versatile means for dealing with problem feedstock. Applicable in batch and continuous processes, silica adsorption uses synthetic or natural silicates to adsorb polar contaminants on the surface of silica particles, which are then filtered from the ester stream. Silica adsorption is very effective at removing free glycerin, soaps, trace metals and oil decomposition products, resulting in fuel with improved oxidative stability. The major downside, however, is handling the fine silica powder and spent filter cake. Additionally, silica is not effective at removing sulfur or polymers. For heavily degraded feedstock, biodiesel distillation should be implemented for removing the most recalcitrant contaminants. High-vacuum distillation of crude ester results in a pure methyl ester absent of soaps, glycerides, polymers and sulfur-bearing compounds. High capital cost and yield loss are its primary drawbacks, but years of research by PBT on low-value feedstock such as brown grease or crude corn oil show that biodiesel distillation is the only viable solution to produce a consistent fuel from these problematic feedstocks. Effective purification, regardless of method, starts with removing feedstock contaminants or using good process chemistry to prevent contaminant formation. Successful strategies may be as simple as working with a feedstock supplier to control contaminant levels, or optimizing catalyst loading. Changing feedstock or purification methods can be a significant investment. A decision of this magnitude should not be made by reviewing vendors’ typical data, but after extensive lab/pilot plant work to determine true costs, yields and quality. Understanding the limits of biodiesel purification methods, and selecting appropriate combinations of feedstock and purification steps, will lead to a consistent quality of fuel at a cost both the producer and customer can afford. Author: Will Smith Engineering Manager, Pacific Biodiesel Technologies (808) 877-3144

EVENTS CALENDAR International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo JUNE 4-7, 2012

Minneapolis Convention Center Minneapolis, Minnesota Evolution Through Innovation Now in its 28th year, the FEW provides the ethanol industry with cutting-edge content and unparalleled networking opportunities in a dynamic business-tobusiness environment. As the largest, longest running ethanol conference in the world, the FEW is renowned for its superb programming―powered by Ethanol Producer Magazine. (866)746-8385

Algae Biomass Summit SEPTEMBER 24-27, 2012

Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel Denver, Colorado Advancing Technologies and Markets Derived from Algae Organized by the Algal Biomass Organization and coproduced by BBI International, this event brings current and future producers of biobased products and energy together with algae crop growers, municipal leaders, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, project developers, investors and policy makers. Register today for the world’s premier educational and networking junction for the algae industry. (866)746-8385

NOVEMBER 27-29, 2012

Hilton Americas - Houston Houston, Texas Next Generation Fuels and Chemicals Make plans to attend the 2012 National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo in Houston, Texas. Understand the latest techniques being developed in the industry and continue building relationships that last. Contact a knowledgeable account representative to reserve booth space now. (866)746-8385

International Biomass Conference & Expo APRIL 8-10, 2013

Minneapolis Convention Center Minneapolis, Minnesota Building on Innovation Organized by BBI International and coproduced by Biomass Power & Thermal, the International Biomass Conference & Expo program will include 30-plus panels and more than 100 speakers, including 90 technical presentations on topics ranging from anaerobic digestion and gasification to pyrolysis and combined heat and power. This dynamic event unites industry professionals from all sectors of the world’s interconnected biomass utilization industries―biobased power, thermal energy, fuels and chemicals. (866)746-8385

The Most Productive Line in the Business If you are considering a new biodiesel facility, look to GEA Westfalia Separator for the best answers. Our proven technology produces biodiesel in an efficient, continuous processing line. This means more top-grade product is manufactured faster, at lower operating costs, within a system that is both safe and reliable. To learn more about the benefits our process technology can bring to your biodiesel operation, contact Constantine Triculis at 201-784-4330, or email him at

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engineering for a better world


National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo

Biodiesel News & Trends



FEED ALTERNATIVE: Feed trials conducted by Texas AgriLife Research scientists demonstrate that crude glycerin meeting certain quality standards can be safely added to cattle diets.

Feed and Fuel

Texas researchers successfully demonstrate the use of glycerin in cattle diets The biofuels and livestock industries have a history of discord when it comes to the use of corn and soybeans as feedstock for biofuel production. Feed research conducted at Texas AgriLife Research and West Texas A&M University, however, is showing that crude glycerin resulting from the biodiesel production process can be used to reduce feed costs by offsetting a portion of corn in forage diets. For the past two years, Jim MacDonald, an AgriLife Research beef cattle nutritionist, and Mike Brown, a professor of ruminant nutrition and management at WTAMU, have teamed up to conduct four experiments designed to determine the value of feeding crude glycerin in beef growing and finishing diets. The studies were funded by a grant offered by the Texas Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Transportation South Central Sun Grant program. According to MacDonald, the research has shown that crude glycerin meeting certain quality standards can safely be added to cattle forage diets at rates of up to 7.5 percent. It is important to note, however, that not all crude glycerin produced by the biodiesel industry is of the same quality. The crude glycerin used in the feed trials met certain quality standards related to methanol, salt and fat content. “All of our glycerin was less than 0.5 percent methanol,” MacDonald says. “That’s important because the amount of glycerin we are able to include in the diet can be limited by methanol.” Regarding sodium content, glycerin utilized in the trial contained 3 to 3.5 percent sodium. “From the perspective of the livestock producer, sodium can limit intake,” MacDonald adds. “If you get BIODIESEL MAGAZINE MAY | JUNE 2012 8 z

too much sodium, or you go too high with your crude glycerin inclusion rate, you can limit intake.” Finally, the glycerin had a fat content of less than 1 percent. Ruminants can only handle up to 6 or 7 percent total dietary fat. “Large swings in dietary fat composition or dietary fat content can also cause problems,” MacDonald says. For that reason, crude glycerin that has variability in fat content will not be attractive to livestock producers. In fact, MacDonald names glycerin consistency as one of the most important factors a biodiesel plant should achieve in order to produce a byproduct marketable to the feed industry. While industry-wide consistency in glycerin quality would be ideal, he says that an individual plant should be able to develop its own market for crude glycerin by ensuring that the byproduct it produces can consistently meet quality specifications required by a feed supplier. He also notes that, from a feed perspective, using potassium hydroxide as a catalyst instead of sodium hydroxide would be preferable. The presence of potassium in the glycerin would actually be beneficial, he says. While MacDonald’s research has obviously had positive implications on the technical level, he also notes that the trials success demonstrates positive findings on a much higher level. “It demonstrates that there are opportunities for symbiosis between bioenergy and livestock production,” he says. “The ability of livestock producers to use [biofuel] byproducts reduces the amount of feed that they need from corn or soybean meal.” —Erin Voegele


A Feat of Efficiency Biodiesel has obvious benefits for the environment, but ongoing B20 trials in the Peoria, Ill., metro area are also benefitting fleet operators through increased efficiency. Farm cooperative AgLand FS has been helping local fleets explore the use of biodiesel blended fuels. One trial, completed with the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (CityLink), involved the continuous use of B20 in 89 buses over the past two and a half years. According to Kevin Lockart, an energy consultant with AgLand, the trial has been highly successful. The fleet has experienced a fuel efficiency increase of 6.5 percent. Considering it consumes an estimated 700,000 gallons of fuel per year, those savings are significant. The CityLink trial has also been highly successful in terms of operability. “We haven’t had a single problem,” Lockart says. “It has gone so smooth that we were actually a little bit surprised. There are 89 buses in the fleet, and every single one of them runs B20 year round. We’ve never had an issue with cold weather.” In fact, Lockart notes that only one filter has been plugged through the course of the twoand-a-half year trial. According to Lockart, CityLink’s inter-


Illinois organization finds success with B20 trials

GONE GREEN: The Greater Peoria Mass Transit District has been fueling its bus fleet with B20 for two and a half years.

est in the use of biodiesel was originally driven by the need to reduce emissions. The program has been highly successful in that regard. He says that he expects the transit system to continue to use B20 regardless of price. AgLand offers fuel through retail locations, but is also active in bulk delivery and serves as a wholesaler to large fleets and municipalities. According to Lockart, his company supplies a B20 fuel mix that contains the proprietary fuel additive Dieselex. The additive, he says, is a multifunction package that has been on the market since 1952. While Dieselex was originally

designed for No. 2 diesel, Lockart says his company has found that it also works well to address some of the challenges associated with biodiesel, including corrosion and water. “We think overall it helps maintain the stability of the B20 mix,” he says. AgLand’s work with biodiesel has also expanded to other fleets. Overall, Lockart estimates that the B20 Dieselex fuel mix is now fueling approximately 700 trucks in the Peoria area. “We’ve had a lot of people jump onboard,” he says. “A lot of people have reached out to ask if they can be part of the program.” —Erin Voegele

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.

MAY | JUNE 2012





Genetic Transformation Researchers look to build a better algae strain

Research at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute is aiming to assist scientists in the quest to discover the most effective algae species for biodiesel production. As part of the project, VBI researchers have assembled a draft genome of a marine algae sequence. According to VBI, Robert Settlage and Hongseok Tae, scientists in its Data Analysis Core, assisted in the assembly of the genome of the marine algae Nannochloropis gaditana. “Getting the data is now the easy part,” says Settlage. “What we’re doing in the DAC is enabling researchers to move beyond informatics issues of assembly and analysis to regain their focus on the biological implications of their research.” In addition, the researchers discovered that using relatively straightforward genetic modification, the algae species should be effective in commercial-scale biofuel operations. In a report describing their work, the authors also point out N. gaditana is a promising organism that features favorable lipid yields. The report further notes some promising characteristics of the algae variety could be attributed to unique stramenopile photosynthesis genes and gene expansions. According to the report, the availability of a genome sequence and other findings that have resulted from the work done by VCI researchers should help facilitate additional investigations of N. gaditana lipid production while allowing genetic engineering strategies to further improve the strain. A scientific paper outlining the results of the project has been published in the journal Nature Communications. —Erin Voegele




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South American Biodiesel Expansion

Camera, DuPont to build catalyst plant in Brazil To expand its Brazilian market share of biofuels, Camera Agroalimentos SA, a Brazilian biodiesel producer, is partnering with DuPont to produce the biodiesel catalyst sodium methylate. Together, Camera and DuPont will work on developing a modular production unit expected to be operational late this year or early next. The initial production capacity will be 15,000 tons a year, but the company anticipates doubling capacity in two years as Brazil’s biodiesel mandate increases. DuPont will provide the necessary technology for the production of sodium methylate; specifically, DuPont will provide mercury-free metallic sodium and the production technology to produce sodium methylate. Camera is analyzing a site for the construction of the sodium methylate factory, which may be built at the Port of Star, Rio Grande do Sul. The two phases of the project, construction and expansion of the plant, are expected to cost around $20 million. Camera will use the catalyst it produces at the new plant for its own biodiesel plants and will sell the rest to other nearby facilities. —Ron Kotrba


Discrepancy in the Numbers

A huge difference exists in two U.S. agencies' 2011 biodiesel production stats The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its latest monthly statistics on biodiesel, and when compared to the U.S. EPA’s Moderated Transaction System (EMTS) data, the numbers just don’t add up. The new report, issued during the final week of March, includes data through the end of last year. According to the EIA report, U.S. producers manufactured 861 million gallons of biodiesel last year, a significant increase over the 309 million gallons produced in 2010 and the 506 million gallons produced in 2009. Regarding monthly production, the U.S. biodiesel industry produced 103 million gallons of biodiesel in December, a slight increase over the 97 million gallons produced in November, and a significant increase over the 17 million gallons produced in December 2010. The EIA’s production figures for last year come in well below the EMTS numbers, which state that nearly 1.1 billion gallons of biodiesel was produced. The discrepancy of roughly 200 million gallons in annual totals could in part be the result of different data sources and collection methods. From January through July, EIA obtained its biodiesel production data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s M311K, which is based on fats and oils production and use. Beginning in August, its figures were forecasts and estimates. At the end of EIA’s March Monthly Energy Review, it states, “Beginning with August 2011, biodiesel production data are not available from the Bureau of the Census; in their place, forecast data from EIA’s Short-Term Integrated Forecasting System will be used until survey data from EIA’s Monthly Biodiesel Production Report are available.” Regarding data collection, Census Bureau data used by EIA from January through July were gathered from biodiesel producer

survey responses. It is possible some of those surveys were never filled out or sent back to the agency, while other producers may have never received the survey forms to begin with. One source told Biodiesel Magazine that he knew of at least one 30 MMgy facility that was not on the Census Bureau’s survey distribution list, and if there’s one, there’s likely more. EMTS data were gathered from producers generating renewable identification number (RIN) credits, and timely reporting to EMTS is required under RFS2, not to mention that in order for producers to monetize their RINs, they must be entered into the system. In addition, there is speculation that bad RINs, whether fraudulently generated or improperly separated, could also be contributing to the discrepancy in the numbers. —Ron Kotrba

Representing biodiesel producers, marketers, retailers, feedstock suppliers and stakeholders in California Biodico Sustainable Biorefineries

Membership Info: call (916) 583-8015 | MAY | JUNE 2012




Biodiesel Website Transformed to Improve Service A website is often the first impression someone has of a product or an organization, and the biodiesel website is no exception. A well-organized and user-friendly site is critical to the National Biodiesel Board’s outreach and communications efforts. As a membership organization, all of NBB’s efforts are focused to support our members. With this in mind, we Doug Whitehead, Director of Opbegan the task last fall of transforming bioderations, National Biodiesel Board You know biodiesel as a mainstream, state-of-the-art advanced biofuel, and now the website dedicated to sharing biodiesel with the world has the same characteristics. The revised was developed to serve as a location for information about biodiesel while the newly launched becomes the home page for the National Biodiesel Board as an organization. The site serves to inform the general public, the press, and the biodiesel industry about the benefits of the fuel. It includes handling and use guides; OEM information; frequently asked questions; biodiesel retailer, distributor, and plant maps; and the most comprehensive database of biodiesel reports within the industry. The site remains the No. 1 source for public information on biodiesel with more than a quarter of a million unique visits each year. The newly launched site is designed for those in the industry who are beyond “biodiesel 101” and are engaged in NBB efforts. The site includes information about the latest policy issues and grassroots advocacy efforts; NBB and member press releases; NBB project successes; partnership programs; membership information; and other information about NBB as an organization. The decision to split the sites into a biodiesel website and an organization website was made to ensure that NBB is providing content in a way that makes sense to every user and makes accessing the information as easy as possible. In the end, NBB’s goals of presenting the information that members want and need while maintaining our technical prowess in the industry remained a struggle. The two unique sites, which are cross-linked for easy access, help address the needs of the membership while keeping the education and benefits of biodiesel front and center.




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The transformation of the websites includes new technology in navigation, delivery, design, and the use of media and graphics. Other new features include reorganized drop-down menus, a streamlined tabbing structure, and prominent social media links. From clean typography to updated color schemes, the new site reflects high-level trends in Web design, moving beyond Web 2.0 and featuring a more simplistic design approach with fewer unnecessary design elements. Modern Web design involves constant upgrades to stay relevant and the last major upgrades were made 10 years ago. There were things that we are doing today with the new site that would have been cost-prohibitive or impossible 10 years ago, so the team working on the new site was really excited to delve into the nuts and bolts of the redevelopment project. After several months of work with design research, industry feedback, evaluation of website statistics and more, the redesigned sites were launched March 18, National Biodiesel Day. Our websites are a truly important part of what we do at NBB. We are about the biodiesel industry and our members, and most importantly for the website, about the people who use it. For more information, check out and www. of course! Doug Whitehead, Director of Operations, National Biodiesel Board


NBB RIN Integrity Network on track to thaw frozen RIN market Restoring confidence in the renewable identification number (RIN) system under the renewable fuel standard is on the fast track, thanks to the work of the National Biodiesel Board’s RIN Integrity Task Force. Co-chair David Blatnik of Marathon Petroleum, along with staff from RIN integrity service provider Genscape, gave a presentation to NBB members in April on the group’s progress in establishing the new RIN Integrity Network. “NBB has shown real leadership in bringing this diverse group of stakeholders together to find a solution that will work for the majority of participants in the RFS,” Blatnik said. “Marathon is an obligated party, so I jumped at the opportunity to work with NBB to address the issue of RIN integrity. The sooner we are back to business, the better off we will all be.” The efforts of the task force focuses on two phases. Phase one is a short-term solution that is now in place, creating an audit protocol that producers can use to give some assurance to obligated parties that their biodiesel production is legitimate. The launch of phase two of the program, a long-term solution to provide transparency and promote the integrity of producers, is also underway. The program uses Genscape’s unique technology on an ongoing basis without a physical audit. Rather, data collection and ongoing proprietary monitoring will be used together to demonstrate the integrity of a facility’s RINs. Real-time updates of a plant’s status would then appear on a live “dashboard” website that obligated parties can subscribe to for a fee. “The National Biodiesel Board is endorsing this program because our task force has had significant input into it, and we believe it has the best chance of being a good solution for the most people,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the NBB. “The Genscape program is completely voluntary. If it meets your business needs, we encourage you to do it. If you have other solutions that you believe will work better, you should pursue them. The Genscape program doesn’t preclude any other program that may be out there now or may emerge in the future.” Task force members reiterated that companies are free to pursue other solutions. NBB is endorsing and making this program available to its members, at a discounted price, because it has been vetted through the task force that includes a broad cross-section of the RFS2 stakeholders. It is also believed that it will be the most cost-effective way for the majority of members, especially small- and

medium-sized producers, to effectively unlock their RINs, returning them to the marketplace. Pricing structure for the program is flexible, with choices to meet the needs of producers. There is an annual fee upfront, then an additional per-RIN fee. Variable pricing is based on RINs sold and is invoiced based on monthly RIN sales. “I am proud of the work we have done with Genscape to get the pricing structure down to where it is,” Jobe said. “We have heard very clearly from our small- and medium-sized members that they are concerned about cost, so that is something we have focused on. This spreads the cost burden, not just on the producers but throughout the system in a fair and affordable way.” The pricing structure reflects a 20 percent discount given to NBB members. The pricing options include: 1) An annual per-facility fee of $25,000 with an additional $0.001 per RIN sold. 2) An annual per-facility fee of $12,500 with an additional $0.003 per RIN sold. 3) An annual per-facility fee of $1,000 with an additional $0.010 per RIN sold. 4) Obligated parties subscribe to the Genscape dashboard for an annual fee of $50,000. 5) Blenders, marketers, and traders will also be able to subscribe. All three producer pricing options are capped at a $40,000 per year total and all include the full phase one and phase two programs. “This shows a generous investment by Genscape, because the company is taking the majority of the risk that the program will be effective in helping biodiesel producers market their RINs,” Blatnik said. Genscape will be investing the cost of the $5,000 audit, the cost of proprietary software and monitoring technology, as well as auditors and analysts on an ongoing basis. “Genscape will only get paid its per-RIN variable cost if their biodiesel producer-client is able to sell its RINs,” Jobe said. “It is a low-risk, potentially high-reward option for those concerned about whether the program will work at returning liquidity to their RINs.” For more information, visit the RIN.

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Mack and Volvo Trucks join growing list of B20 supporters The B20 domino effect continues! Two more original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have formally expressed approval for B20. Heavy-duty truck makers Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks Inc. have confirmed their B20 approval and made their updated warranty statements available to the National Biodiesel Board, as well as to Volvo and Mack dealers and customers. With the addition of these two OEMs, now more than 65 percent of diesel vehicle manufacturers in the U.S. market support B20 or higher biodiesel blends. Volvo and Mack are among the first OEMs to extend B20 approval both to their new 2010 EPA emissions certified engines featuring selective catalytic reduction technology, as well as to their older legacy models. The following warranty statement applies to Volvo Trucks’ D11, D13, and D16 engines, as well as to Mack’s MP7, MP8, and MP10 engines: “The use of biodiesel up to a maximum of 20 percent (B20) in and of itself, will not affect the manufacturer's mechanical warranty as to engine and emissions system related

components, provided the bio fuel used in the blend conforms to ASTM D6751, B1 to B5 blends conform to ASTM D975, and B6 to B20 blends conform to ASTM D7467. Please note that engine and aftertreatment emissions system component warranties are valid providing the B20 blend meets the respective ASTM standard. Customers will need to utilize oil sampling to establish appropriate drain interval(s) for their specific application(s).” Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks Inc. are part of the Volvo Group, one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, aerospace components and services, and one of the world's leading producers of heavy-diesel engines (9-16 liter). The Volvo Group’s operations and products are guided by the company’s three core values: quality, safety and environmental care. For more information on these and other OEM warranty positions on biodiesel, please visit oem-information.

Biodiesel motorcycle drives attention to NBB education efforts The National Biodiesel Board works to educate a multitude of audiences on the benefits of biodiesel, and NBB now has a new tool to drive education efforts for America’s advanced biofuel. NBB member CIMA Green partnered with Paul Teutel Sr. and Orange County Choppers to craft a high-performance diesel motorcycle that they donated to NBB as a promotional resource. The motorcycle has already raised the attention level for biodiesel over a broad audience since it was unveiled at the National Biodiesel Conference in February. It has become a part of NBB’s promotional efforts at events like the Commodity Classic, the Mid-America Trucking Show, and the Atlantic Region Energy Expo. It also appeared in two episodes of the Discovery Channel show American Choppers that included its unveiling at the biodiesel conference. “Clean burning, renewable biodiesel is at work right now in diesel engines all over the country,” said Jessica Robinson, National Biodiesel

Board Director of Communications. “A diesel motorcycle is a unique way to showcase biodiesel’s diversity to a broad audience.” Efforts in the first three months have been successful, and additional trade show appearances have been set for the bike including: May 14-17 at ACT Expo-Long Beach, Calif.; Aug. 28-Sept. 3 at Farm Progress Show-Boone, Iowa; Oct. 2-3 at Green Fleet ConferenceSchaumburg, Ill., and others. “People are drawn to the motorcycle, and it gives us an opportunity to talk to them about the advantages of biodiesel,” said Robinson. “Whether they are in the petroleum industry, agriculture, trucking, or just the general public, this has been an opportunity to put biodiesel top-of-mind and get people thinking about alternative energy.” The motorcycle is powered by a three-cylinder, liquid-cooled, Briggs and Stratton 590000 turbo diesel. It weighs in at 675 pounds and is 96 inches long.

NBB welcomes new members Green Gallons Solutions of Bonners Ferry LLC— Bonners Fairy, Idaho Southern Enviro Solutions LLC—Pooler, Ga. Bridgeport Biodiesel LLC—Bridgeport, Conn. Inspectorate America Corp.—Houston Kyoto Fuels Corp.—Lethbridge, Alberta 14



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Greenleaf Biofuels LLC—Guilford, Conn. Sabine Biofuels II LLC—Houston Tuscan Trading Co. LLC—Houston Benefuel Inc.—Euless, Texas Agri-Fine Inc.—Chicago Central Texas Biofuels LLC—Pittsburgh, Pa.


June membership meeting provides grassroots opportunities in DC In 2011 the biodiesel indus- The NBB membership try produced more than 1 billion meeting takes place: gallons as a direct result of strong June 4-6 federal policy and industry sup- L’Enfant Plaza Hotel port in Washington, D.C. As the Washington, D.C. industry moves through the first part of 2012 without an extension of the biodiesel tax incentive and with continuing efforts to increase the renewable fuel standard, it is more important than ever that the industry makes its presence known in Washington. Members who have never participated in National Biodiesel Board Hill Visits are encouraged to participate. The NBB June membership meeting held annually in Washington, D.C., is where biodiesel producers and industry stakeholders meet to shape the future of the industry. On the meeting agenda are important federal regulatory issues like implementation of the RFS2, RIN integrity, and the biodiesel tax incentive, as well as reports from NBB’s marketing, regulatory, technical and trade committees. “Whether you’re from the West Coast, East Coast or in between, our members need to rally in Washington in June to actively

move our industry and businesses forward,” said NBB Chairman Gary Haer. “If you have never attended a D.C. board meeting, I personally invite you to participate in this important political and networking event. From my own experiences, I can assure you your investment in time and travel will pay dividends as we continue to share and shape our own story with those who most impact our future.” Grassroots visits with elected officials led by members of the industry continue to be paramount to achieving the board’s longterm vision and legislative priorities. “Our industry is at a tipping point: the meetings we hold with our legislators and regulators at this board meeting could shape the future growth of our industry for the long-term,” Haer said. “Our NBB Federal Affairs team can guide you through the process and will supply ample resources to make your visit impactful.” As always, members will get the inside track on what’s happening in all areas of the industry, and learn about the progress of NBB in meeting industry objectives. Participation information will be available via email and the members only site or contact the NBB office.

20 new dealers make Bioheat event at Fenway Park a home run Twenty new oilheat dealers officially registered as Bioheat dealers at the New England Bioheat Symposium, held at Boston’s famed Fenway Park in March. “Many oilheat dealers are realizing that Bioheat is the first real opportunity for a game-changing shift in more than a century,” said Paul Nazzaro, petroleum liaison for the National Biodiesel Board, who led the workshop. “It is a more desirable product to consumers, offering enhanced energy security, benefits to health and the environment, and American jobs.” Greg Anderson, a farmer leader from Newman Grove, Neb., also addressed the oilheat dealers on behalf of the Nebraska Soybean Board. “Soybean farmers recognize that the oilheat industry is under attack, and we’re willing to stand behind you,” he said. “I can pledge our support, not just from Nebraska but from soybean farmers nationwide. They see Bioheat as the next big frontier that we need to support to see it come to commercial success.” Among the companies attending the event was D.F. Richard Energy, an 80-year-old company that is one of the Northeast’s newest Bioheat marketers. “As a company, we are willing to try to take oilheat to a different level, where there are many positives to our product. Bioheat makes that possible,” said Rick Card, CEO of D.F. Richard. “Our employees feel proud that their company is delivering the evolution of heating oil.”

Oilheat dealers listen to how Bioheat can make their businesses more profitable and sustainable.

Attendees registered to win a free Bioheat truck wrap to assist in rebranding efforts. Cleghorn Oil of Fitchburg, Mass., won the wrap. In lieu of a registration fee, attendees donated $50 each to the Home Base Program, a partnership between the Red Sox Foundation and a local hospital, dedicated to improving the lives of injured veterans. MAY | JUNE 2012




BusinessBriefs Whole Energy Fuels Corp., headquartered in Bellingham, Wash., is constructing a new distribution terminal in Portland, Ore. The new terminal will provide convenient service to public and private fleets and regional fuel distribution customers with affordably priced neat biodiesel and fuel blends. The Whole Energy Portland terminal will reduce the total life-cycle cost of providing biodiesel in a sustainable business model that employs vertical integration of raw materials, manufacturing and distribution. Whole Energy will enable a more transparent market with better end-user pricing. Whole Energy serves end users from Vancouver, Canada, to San Diego and is strengthening its presence in Portland by integrating Oregon operations with Beaver Biodiesel and Oregon Oils. All three businesses are co-located in the same facility creating a new industry template for biorefining and distribution.

Biodiesel Industries of Ventura LLC, a subsidiary of Biodico, has been

Companies, Organizations & People in the News

named in a Notice of Proposed Award from the California Energy Commission for a $2 million grant. The grant proposal project will use renewable energy and innovative feedstocks to produce biodiesel at Biodico’s 10 MMgy facility under construction in Port Hueneme, Calif. The objective is to produce all of its process heat and energy onsite from renewable resources, and to use innovative approaches to cultivate low-impact feedstocks for biodiesel production. A suite of three technologies, including solar, cogeneration gasification and anaerobic digestion, will be used for process heat and power. Another key to reducing the carbon footprint of biofuels is the use of appropriate inedible, lowimpact feedstocks.

Pacific Biodiesel announced the appointment of Kimberly Haueisen to the new position of grants director. Based at the company’s Maui headquarters, her responsibilities will include the oversight of all major

grant projects, including compliance, new grant applications and public relations components. Haueisen joins the Pacific Biodiesel team having served the Maui Economic Development Board as program director for more than three years. A Maui resident since 1994, she is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University and has completed graduate course work from both Penn State and the University of Phoenix. Prior to moving to Maui, Haueisen was Global Alliance Manager for Segue Software Inc., and worked as a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Armed Services.

BASF announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to divest its QTA Quality Trait Analysis division in an asset sale to a wholly owned subsidiary of Euro-

BUSINESSBRIEFS Sponsored by fins Scientific Inc., located in Des Moines, Iowa. BASF will transfer approximately 10 employees. Eurofins will enter into a supplier agreement with BASF to provide QTA service continuously to BASF. Details of the agreement were not disclosed. The QTA system is a patented analytical service that enables client companies to quickly and easily test the quality of products and materials, with a high degree of reliability and accuracy. After its foundation by Cognis Corp. in 2001, the QTA business quickly expanded its scope of business, serving stakeholders in multiple industry segments, including grains and seeds, biodiesel, food ingredients, pesticides, chemicals, plastics, and fabrics. The QTA division was part of BASF’s acquisition of Cognis in 2010.

Netherlands-based BioMCN signed an agreement with commodity supplier ED&F Man for the sourcing, risk management and delivery of crude glycerin produced as a byproduct of biodiesel. The glycerin will be sourced

from Argentina, one of the world’s top biodiesel-producing nations. BioMCN converts crude glycerin into biobased methanol. BioMCN purchased two existing, adjacent methanol plants several years ago. While the formerly idle facilities were first designed to convert natural gas into methanol, BioMCN has retrofitted the site to produce biobased methanol via the conversion of crude glycerin. BioMCN currently has 200,000 metric tons of capacity online. A second stage of development, expected to be complete in 2013, will double that. Plans are also in the works to develop a separate facility that would take in woody biomass as feedstock to produce biobased methanol.

Mission NewEnergy Ltd. announced acquisition of an 85 percent stake in Singaporebased Oleovest Pte Ltd., which holds a 70 percent equity stake in PT Sinergi Oleo Nusantara, an Indonesian joint venture company that is 30 percent owned by PT Perkebunan Nusantara III. Mission NewEnergy has tra-

ditionally been involved in jatropha cultivation. PTSON will establish a new downstream palm oil and oleochemical complex under the joint venture agreement. The complex will be located at the PTPN III-owned Sei Mangkei Industrial Zone in North Sumatra. The first stage of the project is expected to include the development of a 600,000 ton edible oil refinery, a 250,000 ton (75 MMgy) biodiesel plant and a 100,000 ton fatty alcohol plant. Information released by Mission NewEnergy noted that the $200 million project will require arranging approximately $140 million in debt financing and $60 million in equity before construction begins. Mission NewEnergy will initially invest $3 million to acquire the 80 percent stake in Oleovest and fund the initial operations of PT Sinergi Oleo Nusantara. 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 email it to rkotrba@ Please include your name and telephone number in each correspondence.


PURIFIED FUEL: While filtration works in purifying biodiesel well enough to meet current ASTM specs, Crown Iron Works’ Derek Masterson says filtration alone would not be enough to meet No. 1B grade biodiesel, which features lower monoglyceride specs and tighter cold soak filtration times. PHOTO: CROWN IRON WORKS CO.




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Polishing Perspectives New biodiesel production technologies are likely to require different fuel polishing procedures BY ERIN VOEGELE

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variety of factors, including plant design and fuel specification goals, influence the type of backend processing equipment that a particular facility must employ to ensure that high-quality, on-spec fuel is produced. Just as no single solution can meet the needs of all transesterification plants, future enzymatic plants are likely to require unique solutions. While initial research and development activities seem to predict that fuel resulting from enzymatic processing will generally require less backend processing to meet fuel specifications, some feedstocks may require additional polishing procedures. One of the most common backend polishing measures employed at traditional biodiesel plants is filtration. In fact, Derek Masterson, product sales manager at Crown Iron Works Co., notes that filtration systems are included as a standard component of all the plants his company designs. “We use chilled fluid to cool the biodiesel to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit,” he says. The chilled biodiesel is then pushed through filters that remove any sterol glucosides or phosphatides that make it through the process, as


One size does not fit all when it comes to fuel polishing procedures, even in traditional transesterification plants. A

SHIFTING GEARS: Piedmont Biofuels developed its FAeSTER process using immobilized enzymes, right, for frontend esterification, but now that the company has proven catalysis using liquid enzymes, left, it moved the immobilized enzymes to the backend of the process for cleanup of remaining FFAs.

well as any other impurities that can be easily filtered out. “That step turns the biodiesel from almost meeting specification, to meeting specification,” he says.

Ultimately, the type of polishing process needed at a particular plant is a function of that plant’s design and which fuel specification it is trying to meet. For example, a

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PROCESS facility that wants to meet the new ASTM D6751 specification for No. 1B fuel would need to achieve extremely low monoglyceride levels. “That would not necessarily work with filtration,” Masterson says. Rather, a plant may need to distill its fuel to meet that specification. The problem with distillation, he adds, is that it is expensive in both capital and operational costs. It also reduces yield. While mechanical separation and distillation are only two of the numerous methods that can be used to improve the quality of product exiting the transesterification component of a plant, Masterson recommends that producers focus on the producing good fuel from the start rather than cleaning up low-quality fuel at the backend. A smart producer, he says, will look at the whole plant and focus on improving the production process itself, rather than trying to clean up poor quality that exits the transesterification process. The same goes for feedstock entering the plant. Rather than taking in low-quality feedstock and trying to figure out how to clean up the resulting biodiesel on the backend, Masterson highly recommends that a producer pretreat feedstock prior to processing.

tino explains that the process of FFA reduction involves running feedstock mixed with approximately 12 to 13 percent methanol by weight through columns that are packed with enzymes. Ahmed Tafesh, vice president of new business development and chief technology officer of TransBiodiesel, notes the enzymes produced by his company can be used for lowering the FFAs in different feedstocks through esterification with methanol to form fatty acid methyl esters and water. He also notes that his company has developed and commercialized a unique immobilized enzyme for the conversion of low-grade feedstocks, with FFA ranges from 0 to 100 percent, to biodiesel. Benefits of TransBiodiesel’s enzyme process include the ability to use wet feedstocks, or feedstocks that have not been dehydrated, low-temperature processing, and there is no need to neutralize the acid.

International enzyme company Novozymes is also pioneering the development of enzymes for biodiesel production. North Carolina-based Piedmont Biofuels LLC has designed its FAeSTER (fatty acid esterification) enzymatic biodiesel process using enzymes developed by Novozymes. Piedmont’s patent-pending, continuous esterification technology employs either immobilized or liquid enzymes to produce fuel. When FAeSTER was developed, it was designed for frontend esterification using immobilized enzymes. Now that Piedmont has proven liquid enzyme catalysis at commercial scale, the FAeSTER process is used on the backend to convert any FFAs into biodiesel as a polishing step. Although virtually all biodiesel plants in existence currently use traditional, chemicalbased transesterification to produce fuel, members of the industry familiar with the

Enzymatic Processing While enzymes can be used by traditional plants to reduce the free fatty acid (FFA) level of incoming feedstock, the enzymatic production process in and of itself is markedly different than the transesterification process. Ernie DeMartino, founder of Biodiesel Experts International LLC, explains there are two primary ways enzymes can be used in biodiesel manufacturing: FFA reduction of a feedstock, or to aid in the conversion of feedstock into biodiesel. DeMartino is working with Israelbased enzyme company TransBiodiesel Ltd. to deploy its enzyme products at commercial scale. As part of that effort, Biodiesel Experts International engineers and builds biodiesel plants that utilize the proprietary enzymes TransBiodiesel produces. DeMar-

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PROCESS new and emerging enzymatic technologies seem confident the presence of these technologies will grow. Piedmont has proven its technology on a commercial-scale, while Biodiesel Experts International has taken orders for several enzymatic processing plants located in both North America and Asia.

Polishing Enzymatic Fuel Information provided by Piedmont notes that there are several benefits associated with enzymatic processing. It does not produce soaps, and very little excess methanol enters the process. The production of high-quality glycerin is also a benefit. Postprocessing needs are also either reduced or eliminated. According to Per Munk Nielsen, Novozymes’ senior science manager, enzymes can be used in a polishing mechanism to reduce the FFA level of biodiesel resulting from the enzymatic process. Piedmont is currently employing enzymes for that purpose. According to Piedmont Founder




Rachel Burton, her company is using both immobilized and liquid enzymes produced by Novozymes in its FAeSTER fuel polishing process. “We see the FAeSTER esterification technique as an extension of our previous work in high free fatty acid pretreatment,” Burton says. “It is an integrated approach for a fully enzymatic biodiesel production process. Our pilot-scale data shows good enzyme reuse for the polishing procedure, which will strengthen the economics for commercial viability.” Information published by Piedmont notes that, independent of feedstock, enzyme transesterification yields biodiesel with 2 to 3 percent FFAs. “The FAeSTER process can easily esterify or ‘polish’ this FFA directly into methyl esters,” Piedmont states. While Piedmont is focused on the use of enzymes for FFA polishing, Nielsen says Novozymes plans to promote a caustic wash to remove FFAs resident in enzymecatalyzed biodiesel. He notes that the caus-

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tic wash is generally cheaper, but does produce some effluent. The exact cost balance between the two options will largely vary depending on where a plant is located. In some regions, high costs to process wastewater might make enzymatic polishing more attractive. Alternatively, caustic wash might be the best option in areas where wastewater treatment costs less. Another consideration is that enzymes can be reused several times. According to Nielson, Novozyme’s BioFAME process produces biodiesel within specifications. The transesterification typically results in approximately 2.5 percent FFA independent of the amount of FFA in the feedstock. The caustic wash his company recommends involves the use of sodium hydroxide. Soaps formed as a result of the wash are separated from the FFAs, which are then recycled back to the frontend of the plant. Tafesh notes that the TransZyme enzyme product his company produces can be used to convert feedstock with FFA levels

PROCESS ranging from 2 to 100 percent into biodiesel that contains 3 to 4 percent FFA. The company’s other biodiesel enzyme, EsterZyme, can be used via a polishing mechanism to convert the remaining FFAs into biodiesel, resulting in a fuel product with less than 1 percent FFA. Alternatively, Tafesh notes, a producer can elect to use another polishing process, such an ion exchange or a caustic wash, to remove the remaining FFA portion of the fuel. One benefit of using both enzymatic products to produce biodiesel rather than another polishing technique is that it allows producers to run an entire process without handling chemicals such as sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide or sodium methylate, Tafesh says. No matter what type of polishing step a facility employs, one clear benefit of enzymatic processing is that it allows producers to take in lower-cost, higher FFA feedstocks and produce a high-quality, on-spec biodiesel. DeMartino notes that the backend processing needs of an enzymatic plant, however, will differ slightly depending on whether the goal is to produce fuel that meets current ASTM specs, or current EN specifications. In either case, plants producing on-spec fuel via enzymatic processing generally will not have to employ any traditional backend processes, such as methanol removal or a dry-wash, he says. “To produce ASTM by enzymatic [processing], you basically have on-spec fuel at the end, but the acid number is a little high,” DeMartino explains. “The simplest way we’ve found so far to reduce the acid number is a very mild caustic water wash.” The resulting waste material can be removed via a centrifuge, after which a reverse osmosis system separates the resulting soaps from the water. Alternatively, plants that want to produce fuel meeting EN specifications will likely need to employ a distillation system. DeMartino attributes this need to the moisture content of biodiesel. While fuel with a moisture content of 1,000 to 1,500 parts per million of entrained or dissolved water will

pass ASTM specifications, it will not meet EN specs. As ASTM works to tighten up biodiesel specifications, he says, it could also become more common for biodiesel producers employing both traditional and enzymatic processes to require distillation equipment in order to produce on-spec fuel. While a mild caustic water wash has been shown to be sufficient to produce ASTM quality fuel using the vast majority of biodiesel feedstocks, DeMartino notes that

one exception might be low-quality brown grease. When designing an enzymatic system that will take in brown grease as a primary feedstock, he says it will likely be necessary to integrate a distillation unit within the plant. Author: Erin Voegele Associate Editor, Biodiesel Magazine (701) 540-6986

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MAY | JUNE 2012


Delaying the

Move to B10

Minnesota waits until 2013 to bump up the state mandate from 5 to 10 percent biodiesel, instead of this year as scheduled BY ERIN VOEGELE

MAY | JUNE 2012




STATE Minnesota made history in September 2005 when it became the first state in the nation to mandate the use of biodiesel. The state mandate was set to increase from a B5 blend to a B10 blend this spring—but it didn’t happen. A recommendation this past winter by the commissioners of the state’s Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture and Pollution Control Agency means the move is likely delayed until 2013. While the delay is disappointing, Minnesota producers say it won’t impact their operations. The 2002 law establishing Minnesota’s mandate required that diesel sold within the state contain a minimum of 2 percent biodiesel by 2005. Subsequent legislation signed into law in May 2008 aimed to increase the mandate to a B5 blend in 2009, a B10 blend in 2012, and a B20 blend in 2015. Under the regulations, exceptions are made for certain engines, such as railroad locomotives, some off-road mining equipment, and heating equipment motors located at nuclear power plants. In addition, the increases in the mandate beyond B5 are only effective during summer months. During winter, it reverts to B5.

Language in the regulations stipulates that before the mandate can be increased to B10 or B15, the commissioners of agriculture, commerce and the pollution control agency are required to determine whether four statutory conditions have been met. The conditions include that ASTM specifications or equivalent federal standards for the specified blend exist, and that there is a sufficient supply of biodiesel available which is produced in-state using feedstocks produced in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, the commissioners must determine that adequate blending infrastructure and regulatory protocols are in place, and that at least 5 percent of the biodiesel necessary to meet the mandate is produced from a feedstock other than an agricultural resource traditionally grown or raised in the state. This includes algae, waste oils or tallow. On Nov. 3, Dave Frederickson, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture; Paul Aasen, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; and Mike Rothman, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, issued a letter to chairmen of six state

LAGGING INFRASTRUCTURE: Much of southwestern Minnesota’s diesel is sourced from terminal locations in Sioux Falls, S.D., where inline biodiesel blending is not yet available.




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STATE legislative committees recommending that implementation of increase be delayed one year, until May 2013. The commissioners consulted extensively with the Minnesota Biodiesel Task force and other stakeholders and determined that the four statutory conditions have not been met completely. In the letter, the commissioners list several questions that remain concerning the statutory conditions. First, the letter states that the Weights and Measures Division of the Department of Commerce, tasked with auditing and sampling biodiesel stored at bulk delivery facilities and retail outlets, currently sample these locations at intervals that may allow undetected violations of the mandate. The commissioners also note that the division does not have authority to audit or inspect farms or fleet facilities to ensure bulk facilities are delivering mandate-compliant fuel. The letter further asserts that although the majority of the state is equipped with adequate biodiesel blending infrastructure, southwest Minnesota is not. The commissioners also highlight their firm support of the current B5 mandate, as well as the moves to B10 and B20, but note that several issues must be addressed beforehand. In the letter, the commissioners pledge to address the concerns related to the testing intervals and authority of Weights and Measures, the lack of infrastructure in the southwest, as well as several other issues. For example, the Department of Agriculture has promised to convene the Minnesota Biodiesel Task Force Cold Weather Issues Team to guide the state on technical issues related to the production, handling and use of biodiesel in cold weather conditions. According to the letter, the team will discuss whether future waivers on No. 1 diesel blends are needed. After some diesel fuel users in Minnesota reported problems during the winter of 2009, the Department of Commerce issued a temporary waiver of the B5 mandate for No. 1 ultra-low sulfur diesel during winter months. That waiver expired in March. The group also notes that the commerce commissioner is required to determine the wholesale diesel and biodiesel blend price differentials in the region, as well as whether those price differentials are likely to cause economic hardship to retailers. The commerce commission filed its report in February as scheduled, noting that “data is insufficient to establish a causal relationship between the state’s biodiesel content requirement and ‘economic hardship on the retailers of diesel fuel in this state.’” If economic hardship is found, the governor can choose to delay the move to B10. The letter also notes that developments regarding the expiration of the biodiesel tax credit and resulting changes to RIN prices will be tracked. Both issues could significantly impact the relative price of biodiesel.

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MAY | JUNE 2012




STATE Regarding the commissioners’ comments on the testing intervals of weights and measures, Swenson notes that current funding levels are a primary issue. “At current staffing levels, the testing interval is not expected to change,” he says. “To reduce that interval, the legislature would need to provide funding for additional full-time employees.” Increased funding would not, however, address the issues related to the division’s inability to test fuel at farm and fleet operations. To give weights and measures that authority, the state legislature would have to act. Swenson also reiterates that all three commissioners support the state’s biodiesel mandate, and the eventual moves to B10 and B20 blends. “The commissioners agree that growing Minnesota’s biodiesel industry is in the best interest of our state,” he says. Delaying the implementation of the move to

B10 will allow the agencies and stakeholders to further address the benchmarks laid out in statute—benchmarks the state must meet in order to implement B10.” According to Swenson, the state of Minnesota will be better prepared to implement the move to B10 in 2013, as the delay will allow more information to be gathered and more involvement of the stakeholder community. In completing the necessary analyses and work to implement the B10 mandate in 2013, the commissioners have pledged work closely with a variety of stakeholders, including the Minnesota Biodiesel Task Force. The task force was created by state legislature in 2003 with the goal of helping the state carry out its biodiesel mandate. According to Kelly Marczak, chair of the Minnesota Biodiesel Task Force, the purpose of her group is to advise the commission-

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ers and help them evaluate conditions and move forward in a strategic way that will lead to the successful implementation of the appropriate time. Marczak also serves as director of Clean Fuel & Vehicle Technologies at the American Lung Association of Minnesota, which has been a member of the task force since its inception. Marczak says that delaying the move to B10 will allow the state and local biodiesel industry to be fully prepared for implementation. “It allows Minnesota’s biodiesel producers, petroleum partners and government agencies to increase their capabilities to meet the growing demand,” she says. Regarding the mention of the future fuel waivers for blends of biodiesel containing No. 1 diesel, Marczak notes that recommendation to delay implementation of the mandate is not a reflection of fuel performance. “The move to B10 applies only to the months of April through October, and returns to the 5 percent level in November through March,” she says. “A waiver remain[ed] in effect for biodiesel in No. 1 ULSD through this [past] winter, and we have not had any issues with biodiesel in cold weather since that waiver has been put into place. It will be one of the main issues that the task force considers this year. The National Biodiesel Board is working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to conduct testing at a national level to address issues with low aromatic fuels and biodiesel blends. The work will be valuable to us as we consider the waiver in the future.” New ASTM specifications for biodiesel blends could also play a role in the future of the waiver. As previously reported by Biodiesel Magazine, the ASTM Biodiesel Task Force is working to address the rare cases in which some No. 1 ULSD-biodiesel blends—which meet the appropriate specifications—caused some cases of filter clogging even though the cloud point was below the outside temperature. A ballot to create specifications for a No. 1 grade of biodiesel (current standards would become No. 2B) was out for main committee vote as of February. If approved, the new speci-

STATE fication would provide additional assurance that fuel blends incorporating No. 1 grade biodiesel would operate down to the cloud point by including a maximum 200-second cold soak filtration time limit and a lowered monoglyceride limit of 0.4 percent. Those in the biodiesel industry seem to agree that the delay in implementing the B10 mandate shouldn’t negatively impact the regional industry. Jim Willers, chairman of the Minnesota Biodiesel Council, notes that his association was aware that this delay was likely to occur. While not all members of the council necessarily agree with the decision, Willers says as a group the council probably does agree the delay is for the best. Willers says that the Minnesota biodiesel industry will use the time to bolster education efforts, build support for the fuel, and showcase the state’s biodiesel production capacity, which he currently estimates to be 64 MMgy. He also notes his group will seek to enhance cold weather performance quality programs. The council is also working to mitigate the lack of blending infrastructure in the southwestern part of the state, Willers says. There is no terminal blending infrastructure in the area, he says, noting that most of the biodiesel in the southwest region of the state is splash-blended. “The guys doing it are doing a pretty good job and we’re getting by,� he says, “but the state is worried that if you go to B10, then maybe it could become an issue. Most of our diesel fuel comes out of Sioux Falls, S.D.,� where terminal blending of biodiesel is not available, he says. To remedy the situation, Willers says that the Minnesota Biodiesel Council, Minnesota Soybean and South Dakota Soybean associations have met with some of the terminal operators in South Dakota to encourage them to start inline blending of biodiesel. “We have an interested party at this time,� Willers says, noting that the hope is the situation will be resolved by next year. Although the biodiesel industry may not be excited about the delay, Willers stresses the local industry isn’t expected

to feel much of an impact due to the delay. According to Willers, there is more than enough demand for biodiesel to keep Minnesota producers operating at capacity, even without an increase to the mandate. He also stresses that biodiesel producers in the state are ready for the mandate, and the possible delay is not due to the quality of biodiesel being manufactured or the producers’ ability to make enough of the fuel. Dave Wendorf, director of marketing at Mcgyan Biodiesel LLC, who also works on behalf of Ever Cat Fuels LLC, says that in the grand scheme of things his company doesn’t think the one-year delay will be a big deal. “We do concur with the Minnesota Biodiesel Task Force in supporting the state’s B5 mandate for another year,� he says. According to Wendorf, Ever Cat Fuels’ 3 MMgy biodiesel plant is running at capac-

ity, and expects to continue doing so. Even if the move to B10 is delayed, Wendorf says his company expects to continue selling the vast majority of its fuel into the local market. David Slade, director of technical services at Renewable Energy Group Inc. and a member of the Minnesota Biodiesel Task Force, also says he supports continuing the B5 mandate for another year. “We look forward to working with our industry partners in reaching out to the petroleum supply chain throughout the next year in increasing awareness that high-quality biodiesel is available across the state,� he says. Author: Erin Voegele Associate Editor, Biodiesel Magazine (701) 540-6986




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PURE-O-MATIC: A Jatrodiesel operator adjusts the backend treatment processes of polishing and distillation. PHOTO: JATRODIESEL INC.




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Treatment Washing or polishing followed by distillation offers the purest biodiesel around BY RAJ MOSALI

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PURIFICATION Biodiesel is traditionally produced via esterification of fatty acids and transesterification of triglycerides with an alcohol such as methanol and sodium methylate. The transesterification of triglycerides is comprised of three sequential, reversible reactions wherein triglycerides react to form diglycerides, monoglycerides and glycerol. All biodiesel processes, whether traditional or nontraditional, involve a settling process as the penultimate step. During the settling

process, the biodiesel and glycerin mixture is settled using a decanter or a centrifuge to separate the biodiesel from the glycerin. The separated biodiesel is then taken through the final steps, which, in some cases, involve two stages: washing/polishing and distillation. Washing/ polishing is mandatory and biodiesel distillation is optional. This article discusses both the washing/polishing and distillation stages. Washing and polishing mean the same thing. The term washing is used if water is used to do the washing step, and the term polishing/filtration is used if powder, ion ex-

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change resins or some other media is used instead. This step is necessary to wash or polish off the excess glycerin or soap in the freshly separated biodiesel to meet the ASTM specification. Biodiesel distillation is an optional step. As the name indicates, the distillation process distills the fuel to a colorless methyl ester. Both of these steps are individually addressed below in detail.

What is Washing or Polishing? A fatty acid in the oil and base (catalyst) reacts to form a new compound, called soap, and water. Compounds such as soap, in which the hydrogen (proton) of an acid has been replaced with a metal ion are often called salts. The reason that such compounds exist is that materials such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or potassium hydroxide (KOH) can split apart, or dissociate, in a fashion that gives Na+ and OH- or K+ and OH-, in which the protons and electrons are not evenly distributed, leading to charged particles. Thus, having the same charge, Na+ or K+ can replace H+ here. And during the settling process, stray amounts of glycerin end up in the final product. Both soap and glycerin have to be taken out for biodiesel to meet the ASTM biodiesel specification, D6751. You can take the soap/glycerin out by washing it with water or mixing the biodiesel with magnesium silicate and using specialty soap-absorbing chemicals. Whether one is washing or polishing, the step is extremely critical. This step should be flexible enough to be able to address excess soap or glycerin in the process. If there is a glitch in the production or the settling process, a properly planned and designed washing/polishing process could act as a catchall process to fix the issues. Comparing operational costs of both water wash and dry polishing (using magnesium silicate, clay or ion exchange resin), the water wash is cheaper. Currently, the per-gallon cost of water washing in a 10 MMgy plant ranges between 2 and 4 cents. This includes the cost of water, disposal or treatment, energy and labor. Polishing, however, costs between 6 and 9 cents a gallon. This includes the cost of filtrate, disposal/landfill costs, and labor.

PURIFICATION Washing with water is preferred where water is either available in abundance or there is a means to dispose of the wash water, such as through a nearby ethanol plant or wastewater treatment plant, or another location where the disposing laws are not as stringent as some other locations. With the added upfront costs of building a water wash system with some water treatment capabilities in place, and considering the amount of filtrate to be disposed, a water wash system makes sense in a typical biodiesel plant that is larger than 10 MMgy. Plants with production capacities of less than 10 MMgy are better off most times with a polishing system. A fairly recent addition to the ASTM 6751 specification, voted in a few years ago, is cold soak filtration. Cold soak filtration is when biodiesel is chilled to a point and reheated back to room temperature. The chilling and reheating process will result in the formation of mushy crystal-like material called sterols. This material will not blend with diesel fuel and will clog the fuel filters on vehicles. To address this and other related issues, ASTM issued the cold soak filtration guidelines. With a water wash process, cold soak filtration should still be addressed outside of the wash step. In the case of polishing, cold soak filtration could be addressed at the same time the polishing step is performed. Jatrodiesel does this today at number of its plants.

Biodiesel Distillation We believe biodiesel distillation is the future of biodiesel. Various updates currently proposed in ASTM requirements related to unreacted components, and most of the other requirements that might pop up in the future related to metals, salts and so forth, can all be addressed today with biodiesel distillation. Distillation is chosen for various reasons, from a desire to change corn oil biodiesel’s red color to the need to remove high sulfur and metal content from yellow grease or some animal fats, for example. Biodiesel resulting from distillation is the purest form of the fuel.

Through distillation, unreacted oil components—mono-, di- and triglycerides, metals, catalyst, salts and pigmentation—are left over as the column bottoms and need to be drained off or sent out along with crude glycerin. Biodiesel from various feedstock distills at various temperatures. The range is between 210 degrees Centigrade to 250 degrees C. As you can see, the biodiesel distillation process operates at a very high temperature compared to other parts of the production process.

The typical and cost-effective provider of heat to this process is a thermal fluid (or thermal oil) heater. A thermal oil heater has the capability to operate at a very high temperature, if designed ahead of time to handle high temperatures. The thermal heating fluid is the heattransferring liquid instead of, for instance, steam in a steam boiler or water in a water heater. The thermal fluid that is used as the heat transfer liquid in the heater should be capable of handling very high temperatures; if not, the high temperatures will disintegrate the thermal fluid, requiring expensive heating fluid replacement.


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PURIFICATION Due to the high-temperature operations, heat transfer equipment such as heat exchangers and condensers should meet the American Society of Mechanical Engineers specifications or be built to ASME specifications. Also, due to the high temperature of biodiesel during the process, a potential hazard for flashing exists. At very high temperatures, and with enough vapor present, any liquid can flash with sudden exposure to air. Care should be taken during the design process to address these issues for proper and safe operation.

Another consideration often overlooked in the biodiesel distillation process is structural related. The reactors or columns involved should be able to withstand constant expansion and contraction. They must also have enough thickness and support to handle high heat. Insulation is also extremely important. Other parts of the biodiesel production process could survive with little or no insulation, but in the case of distillation, insulation is a critical component and it is well worth the investment to improve the efficiency and reduce operation costs.

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A couple of glaring disadvantages with biodiesel distillation are loss of yield due to distillation, which could range anywhere from 1 to 5 percent by weight, depending on the feedstock and the biodiesel conversion process; and the high temperatures inherent with distillation result in the failure of oxidative stability, so an additive needs to be added for the distilled biodiesel to meet the ASTM specification. When a typical customer uses clear biodiesel resulting from a distillation process, they rarely would like to buy anything else. It is not just the perception, but a clear biodiesel blends better than normal biodiesel even though both clear and normal biodiesel meets the ASTM specification. Biodiesel distillation does not do much to the cloud point of the biodiesel, but by restricting mono- and diglycerides to next to nothing, the blending and related filter plug issues are considerably reduced. Some of the larger oil companies that are buying wet gallons restrict mono- and diglyceride values, and metals. The specification is easily achievable with biodiesel distillation instead of a hit-and-miss approach by trying to fix the existing biodiesel process on the frontend. To summarize, water is scarce and disposal of wastewater is increasingly regulated. The regulations and related paperwork might be onerous for a water-wash-based system compared to a polishing system’s once-a-year chemical profile one needs to prepare for the hauling company. Eventually, the costs to treat or regulate water could be such that polishing will be the only way to go. Biodiesel distillation produces the purest form of biodiesel. If you are in the planning stages to build a plant, including the biodiesel distillation process would greatly reduce the headaches resulting from changes to the ASTM specification and any blending-related issues experienced by the customers. Author: Raj Mosali President, Jatrodiesel Inc. (937) 847-8050 ext. 201

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