Bringing Glycerin Back
There is no shortage of biodiesel purification schemes employed throughout the industry, but getting producers to talk on the record about their specific techniques and approaches is not easy. Fortunately, several producers have been kind enough to share with me—off the record, of course—how they tackle the important tasks of washing and polishing their fuel. But to produce an article on this topic, information I can publish is necessary. So in order to produce “Biodiesel Separation, Washing and Polishing: Upstream and Downstream Considerations,” on page 26, I reached out to numerous companies whose business it is to sell products and services in this field. I would like to give a special thanks to Schroeder Industries, MidContinental Chemical Co., ALX Enterprises LLC, Oil-Dri Corp. of America, Frazier, Barnes & Associates and Kyte Centrifuge LLC for addressing my questions on biodiesel purification. As you read the article, you may note that distillation, the final treatment as some would call it, is only briefly mentioned at the beginning of the article. For an in-depth look at distillation, be sure to check out our article “The Many Faces of Distillation,” in the March/April 2013 purification issue.
Glycerin is always a hot topic of interest, which is why we combined coproduct utilization with this issue’s theme of biodiesel purification. In “The Next Generation of Biodiesel Coproduct Research,” on page 20, I speak with Darol Brown with Oregon-based Sego International Inc. for some background information on the glycerin market, and then with three Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel, about their promising work using glycerin as a carbon substrate for increasing lipid production in algae, gasifying glycerin to power a modified V8 engine coupled with an electric generator, and development of coproducts from yeast biodiesel. We also feature a contribution article from Atul Deshmane, president of Whole Energy, who discusses the project development and commissioning of his company’s new glycerin refinery in Mt. Vernon, Wash., along with cutting-edge use of glycerin as a scrubbing agent to cleanse natural gas, both fossil and renewable. Whole Energy’s use of glycerin to scrub natural gas is patent-pending.
Speaking of patents, intellectual property attorney Thomas B. McGurk talks about the trade-offs between trade secrets and patents in the Legal Perspective column on page 6 in “Protecting Your Developments: Patent or Trade Secret.”
Finally, GEA Mechanical Equipment U.S. Inc.’s Ted Neuman gives us this month’s Talking Point column, a historical and technical account of the overarching role separators play in biodiesel production. Be sure to check out “Use of Separators, Decanters in Biodiesel Processing” on page 7.
Author: Ron Kotrba
Editor, Biodiesel Magazine