FirmTec builds enzymatic unit using ethanol for Indonesian firm

By FirmTec | June 12, 2013

This month, the Dutch company FirmTec will deliver the first ever plant capable of producing 100 percent green biodiesel. The client is the Indonesian company Waterland and the biodiesel will be produced with the aid of enzymes and ethanol, using oil from the camelina sativa plant. This method will make the production process much more sustainable.

The conventional biodiesel process uses methanol. This is a petroleum product and therefore less sustainable than the new method, which was invented by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. The worldwide patent on this method has been bought by the Indonesian company Waterland.

Waterland grows oil-bearing crops in proximity to food crops (intercropping) in countries across Asia. These crops are grown using sustainable practices, with minimal use of synthetic fertilisers and crop protection agents. The company also intends to produce its own ethanol, which is needed for the new process. This means that the company will soon be producing all the raw materials it needs for the new green biodiesel itself and will therefore no longer be dependent on the fluctuating global market prices for vegetable oil and methanol.

This enzymatic biodiesel plant in Bali will be put into operation in mid-September. There are already a number of generators on Bali, which provide the island with electricity. One of these generators will generate electricity using this new enzymatic biodiesel, which will be produced using the FirmTec system. Eventually, many more of these plants will be built, so that the growing demand for sustainable energy in Indonesia can be met. The Indonesian government is also involved in the project and is assisting with the rapid implementation of this type of biodiesel.

Several world leaders and CEOs will be meeting at a conference on sustainability on Bali at the beginning of October, including the American President Barack Obama, who plans to visit the new plant.

The Dutch company FirmTec specializes in the development and construction of systems that process and refine vegetable oil into food, biodiesel and energy. These systems are supplied worldwide and recently the company delivered its first-ever system for the palm oil industry in Nigeria. FirmTec has many international clients, thanks to its extensive knowledge of oleochemistry and the related technology.

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