Western Biofuels introduces new process

By Susanne Retka Schill | May 11, 2009
Posted, June 3, 2009

Western Biofuels Inc. released the results of an independent validation test and announced plans to build a 1.4 MMgy demonstration plant for a new biofuel process. Fuel chemist Nicholas Irving, president and founder of Western Biofuels, described the process as combining a chemical reaction using nitrogen compounds and distillation to create a unique biofuel from fats and oils that is not a methyl ester. He's calling it a High Energy BioFuel (HEBF) because it combines the energy advantage of petro-diesel with the benefits of biofuels.

"HEBF has no restriction as to feedstock, it can be tallow, palm, olive oil or 100 percent FFAs [free fatty acids]," Irving said. "We can even use crude vegetable oils, the water isn't a problem." The distillation is done at atmospheric pressure, Irving added, although the HEBF process does require the proper equipment and can't be done even on a bench scale with glassware.

"The unique characteristic of our product is the consistency of output," said Western Biofuels CEO Jose Parjus. Regardless of feedstock, the process yields about 5 percent of a light, naptha-like fraction, about 10 percent of a heavy bio-bunker fuel and the rest the biomass-based diesel fraction. The HEBF process has no coproducts such as glycerin and produces a fuel with a unique chemical footprint which allows full traceability. Testing by the independent laboratory, Oil Test International, confirmed HEBF is comparable to ultra low sulfur diesel or better, Parjus said, and performs well compared to biodiesel specifications with a notable cold filter plugging point of minus 13 degrees Celsius. The sample fuel used for the independent tests was made from pure free fatty acid crude palm oil feedstock, he added.

With the independent test results in hand, Western Biofuels is now putting together equipment and in discussions to select a location for a 1.4 MMgy demonstration facility, possibly in Texas or in Central America. The company has roots in both regions with Irving being based in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and Parjus based in Miami Springs, Fla.

Test Results
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