Pittsboro, NC, United States

Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc

www.biofuels.coop
Pittsboro, NC, United States

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Fan X.,Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc | Burton R.,Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc | Zhou Y.,Yonezawa Hamari Chemical Ltd
Open Fuels and Energy Science Journal | Year: 2010

Currently the large surplus of glycerol formed as a by-product during the production of biodiesel offered an abundant and low cost feedstock. Researchers showed a surge of interest in using glycerol as renewable feedstock to produce functional chemicals. This Minireview focuses on recent developments in the conversion of glycerol into valueadded products, including citric acid, lactic acid, 1,3-dihydroxyacetone (DHA), 1,3-propanediol (1,3-PD), dichloro-2- propanol (DCP), acrolein, hydrogen, and ethanol etc. The versatile new applications of glycerol in the everyday life and chemical industry will improve the economic viability of the biodiesel industry. © Fan et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.


Gombotz K.,State College | Parette R.,State College | Austic G.,Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc | Kannan D.,Pennsylvania State University | Matson J.V.,State College
Fuel | Year: 2012

Manganese (II) oxide (MnO) and titanium (II) oxide (TiO) solid catalysts were found to be robust catalysts for both the transesterification of triglycerides and esterification of free fatty acids. These metal oxides were shown to exhibit long life with little loss of activity. The ability to esterify free fatty acids (FFA) and handle high levels of water illustrates the potential of these catalysts to produce biodiesel from low quality feedstocks without the pretreatment operations required with the traditional process. Some soaps were produced in the presence of free fatty acids, but soaps were within tolerable levels and formed at concentrations that were orders of magnitude lower than the traditional process. This results in significant reductions in product washing. By utilizing a 2-stage process, high quality fuel (meeting ASTM specifications) and glycerol were produced. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Burton R.,Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc | Fan X.,Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc | Austic G.,Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc
International Journal of Green Energy | Year: 2010

Currently, the biodiesel industry is investigating non-food crops with high oil content. The industry is also evaluating oil sources from deeper into the industrial or commercial waste streams. Spent coffee grounds could be a feedstock that qualifies for both as a non-food crop and a waste product. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of using coffee oil extracted from spent coffee grounds as raw material to produce ASTM standard biodiesel. The two biodiesel production methods that were used are acid-catalyzed esterification followed by alkali-catalyzed transesterification and lipase catalyzed transesterification. It was found that the high level of free fatty acids (FFA) in the coffee oil was reduced from 16.3% to 2.64% by acid-catalyzed esterification with 40/1 molar ratio of methanol to FFA in the presence of 5% (v/v, based on FFA) hydrochloric acid. However, poor conversion was obtained for the further alkali-catalyzed transesterification. In comparison, 98.5% conversion was achieved by using enzymatic catalysis, demonstrating the feasibility of using this approach to process low quality coffee oil from spent coffee grounds for biodiesel production. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Fan X.,Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc | Burton R.,Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc | Austic G.,Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc
International Journal of Green Energy | Year: 2010

Biodiesel, known as fatty acid methyl ester, has become increasingly important due to the following advantages: it is renewable, biodegradable, non-toxic, and eco-friendly. At present, the main hurdle for its commercialization is high feedstock price. Crude soybean oil may be a cheap source for biodiesel production. However, it contains high amount of phosphorus, which can inhibit the action of the catalyst during transesterification. The degumming process can remove most of phosphorus in the crude soybean oil. In this paper, different degumming methods were investigated and an optimal method was determined based on phosphorus content, free fatty acid, and bound glycerin tests. Crude soybean oil degummed by the optimal method was further transesterified, and the fuel properties, including acid number, water and sediment, flash point, soap, moisture, methanol content, and free and total glycerin, etc., were further evaluated. It was found that the fuel properties were within ASTM D 6751 specifications. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Fan X.,Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc | Niehus X.,Industrial Biotechnology Unit | Sandoval G.,Industrial Biotechnology Unit
Methods in Molecular Biology | Year: 2012

The global shortages of fossil fuels, significant increase in the price of crude oil, and increased environmental concerns have stimulated the rapid growth in biodiesel production. Biodiesel is generally produced through transesterification reaction catalyzed either chemically or enzymatically. Enzymatic transesterification draws high attention because that process shows certain advantages over the chemical catalysis of transesterification and it is "greener." This paper reviews the current status of biodiesel production with lipase-biocatalysis approach, including sources of lipases, kinetics, and reaction mechanism of biodiesel production using lipases, and lipase immobilization techniques. Factors affecting biodiesel production and economic feasibility of biodiesel production using lipases are also covered. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Fan X.,Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc
Lipid Technology | Year: 2012

Enzymatic biodiesel production shows a very high potential to be an eco-friendly process compared with traditional chemical processes, which could pose downstream processing problems. As an environmentally benign green approach, enzymatically catalyzed biodiesel production avoids the generation of wastewater and eases the recovery of high purity glycerol. This article discusses the benefits of using enzymatic approach. Both the opportunities and challenges are covered. © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Patent
Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Llc and Novozymes AS | Date: 2012-02-06

The invention relates to the utilisation of fatty acid feedstocks with substantial free fatty acid content in the production of biodiesel by the use of microbial enzymes.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 139.25K | Year: 2010

Existing biodiesel production processes results in very low quality waste water which is high in fats, oils and greases and BOD (biological oxygen demand). This material is most often discharged to city sewer systems, causing problems in the pipes and at the waste water treatment plants themselves. Furthermore, crude biodiesel glycerin, a co-product of the process, has little or negative value, causing some producers to offload it at a loss or even worse into streams, lakes, or sewers. By developing an enzymatic biodiesel production method the washing step in the production process can be eliminated. With no washing procedures required, the waste water concern is alleviated. The current biodiesel production methodology forms soaps or salts in both the biodiesel and glycerin phases. Thus, eliminating soap formation through the use of enzymes results in a more complete separation of biodiesel and glycerin and a high quality, salable glycerin co-product. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: In addition to eliminating wash water and improving glycerin quality, enzymatically catalyzed biodiesel production requires fewer energy inputs and can use low quality feedstocks like yellow and brown grease. Yellow and brown grease are quickly becoming the primary biodiesel feedstocks, as existing virgin feedstocks are more costly and are challenged by the current Renewable Fuel standard policies. Though it is possible to make biodiesel from brown grease using existing technology, the technique is not often utilized because of the high yield loss and large capital investment. This enzymatic production process would be a low cost, high yield alternative. It is our assertion that this technique will raise demand for brown grease and ultimately reduce FOG (fats, oils, and greases) in sewers, a huge cost for many waste water municipalities


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 969.97K | Year: 2010

Existing biodiesel production processes results in very low quality waste water which is high in fats, oils and greases and BOD (biological oxygen demand). This material is most often discharged to city sewer systems, causing problems in the pipes and at the waste water treatment plants themselves. Furthermore, crude biodiesel glycerin, a co-product of the process, has little or negative value, causing some producers to offload it at a loss or even worse into streams, lakes, or sewers. By developing an enzymatic biodiesel production method the washing step, and the wastewater, in the production process can be eliminated. The current biodiesel production methodology forms soaps or salts in both the biodiesel and glycerin phases, which would be eliminated using enzymes. During Phase I a method was developed which consistently produces ASTM quality biodiesel using virgin soy, yellow grease, and brown grease. In addition, as of the writing of this summary, a 15 day life cycle trial showed no significant loss in enzyme activity. Phase II will continue enzyme life trials and process optimization and build and test a 500 gallon per day full scale pilot unit. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: As this project progresses to and beyond Phase III, biodiesel plants utilizing this process will eliminate their wastewater sidestreams, reducing cost and stress on local waste water treatment plants. Greater demand on brown grease will spur more local trap grease collectors to begin removing this valuable energy stream from our waste and reduce costly illegal discharges of trap grease. The technical grade glycerin produced will increase profitability and availability of glycerin for use in bio-based products. Finally, as the US ramps up alternative fuel use through the RFS II mandate, biodiesel producers must return to full capacity and find new feedstocks to feed the demand. Enzymatic biodiesel serves these needs by expanding feedstocks, reducing waste, and increasing profitability.


Grant
Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.89K | Year: 2012

Reducing foreign dependence on petroleum-based materials is a key to enhancing the US agricultural economy in the long-term. In recent years with the rising costs of petrochemical prices, there has been an increasing interest in renewable sourced specialty chemicals. Presently, less than 4 percent of U.S. chemicals sales are biobased in origin. A recent USDA analysis puts the potential biobased chemical market share in excess of 20 percent by 2025 with adequate federal policy support. If this rate of growth is achieved, the industry could create or save tens of thousands of additional jobs in the next five years. Increasing the production efficiency and the value of co-products in biofuel operations will also improve the carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions from US biorefineries. The research developed under this proposal will address both the climate change and sustainable bioenergy priorities at USDA. This project will enhance two additional pathways for biobased materials, sucrose esters and glycerol carbonate, and facilitate their production viability in US biofuel refineries. The goal is to move these process improvements from the academic realm into commercial reality.

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