Biodiesel

Biodiesel is the product of the reaction between an Alcohol and a Triglyceride. Common sources of Triglycerides are Animal fats and Vegetable oils. The manufacturing process for Biodiesel is generally referred to as Transesterification. Currently Biodiesel producers generate Glycerol that is 80-85% pure and commands pricing in the range of $80-120/ton.

Triglycerides are composed of a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated components designated as R1, R2 and R3 and attached to the Glycerol backbone. The composition of R1, R2 and R3 and their relative % in the Triglyceride determines the solidification temperature of the Biodiesel.

Biodiesel is commonly described as FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) with an added numeral indicating its cold flow specification. The Transesterification of Triglycerides is most commonly carried out using Caustic based catalysts at moderate temperatures. The primary reason for the process is to reduce the viscosity of the Triglyceride to one closely matching that of fossil diesel. All vegetable oils and animal fats are suitable candidates for conversion to Biodiesel.

The most commonly processed feedstock's include Tallow, Soybean oil, Canola/oilseed Rape, Palm oil, Coconut oil, Sunflower oil and Camelina oil. New sources of oil under development include Jatropa oil, Honge oil and Algae oil. Waste cooking oil, Tallow and Poultry fat for Biodiesel production require an added processing stage to reduce the Free Fatty Acid (FFA) content.

While pricing is a primary consideration for the Biodiesel manufacturer, the choice of vegetable oil also determines the gel/cold flow characteristics of the Biodiesel. Biodiesel manufactured from Soybean and Canola oil have low melting points whereas Palm oil and Tallow have high melting points. Blending of various oils and fats is common and provides a commercial balance of Biofuel properties and price..

 

Glycerol

Glycerol is an extremely versatile organic chemical. It represents 10% of the current Oleochemical industry production and has long been established in Consumer care, Polyurethane, Tobacco, Food and Pharmaceutical Industries. Before the advent of Biodiesel the world supply-demand for glycerol was in balance. With Biodiesel production coming on stream the market price for glycerol fell rapidly from a peak of $2500/ton to the current level of $500-600/ton.

As Biodiesel production grows over the coming years the shear volumes of glycerol made available on the market with no where to go will be a significant challenge for the Biodiesel industry. Currently Biodiesel producers generate Glycerol that is 80-85% pure and commands pricing in the range of $80-120/ton. Many Biodiesel producers have chosen not to make the high capital investment required to purify the crude glycerine and opt to send it to established glycerol refiners. The price realised is of little contribution to their overall Biodiesel production facility.

Ceimici Novel believes this is an unsustainable situation.

The adopters ofSmart Catalyst technology have choices.Smart Catalyst delivers Glycerol at a purity level in excess of 98%. The operator can with minimum capital investment convert this product to commercial glycerol quality 99.5% simply and economically. The operator may also choose to convert the said glycerol to downstream added value intermediate chemicals examples of which are:

» Glycerol Formal
» Glycerol Carbonate
» Glycidol

Ceimici Novel and its team of chemists and engineers will work with our clients to introduce these processes- Look upon it as your extended R & D facility.

Smart Catalyst will add 3 to 4 cents/litre to the bottom line based solely on Glycerol output.