The Duonix Beatrice biodiesel plant is online and producing ASTM biodiesel; the first of its kind using Benefuel’s ENSEL technology. The project is a collaboration between Flint Hills Resources and Benefuel and the biodiesel facility uses feedstocks such as recycled cooking oil and distillers corn oil. Once the biorefinery is at full capacity, it will produce 50 million gallons of biodiesel each year.
According to Benefuel, the ENSEL technology utilizes a solid catalyst that combines esterification of high free fatty acid feedstocks and transesterification of triglycerides into a single step. This, says the company, eliminates waste, improves process efficiency and expands feedstock options. Benefuel says its biodiesel is further improved by an upgraded, backend distillation process that removes additional impurities which, when used on high free fatty acid feedstocks such as distillers corn oil, produces a higher quality biodiesel with superior cold weather performance.
“The start of production at Duonix Beatrice is a major milestone and a significant step toward demonstrating the commercial-viability of the ENSEL technology,” said Rob Tripp, CEO of Benefuel. “The key question has been whether the technology can be scaled up and applied to a large production facility, so we’re very pleased to be able to say that production at Duonix Beatrice is now underway and the results are very encouraging. We believe this provides us with a strong base to grow additional production within the U.S. and worldwide.”
In addition to producing 50 million gallons of biodiesel, there are plans for Duonix Beatrice to produce multiple co-products including glycerin, a product that is often used as a food additive, or can be used in medical, pharmaceutical and personal care products.
Jeremy Bezdek, vice president of Flint Hills Resources Biofuels and Ingredients, said of the plant’s commercial production status, “The ENSEL technology has the potential to greatly improve both the cost competitiveness of biodiesel and its viability as a very clean diesel fuel blend component that can be used in almost any climate. Duonix Beatrice has been a tremendous proving ground for the ENSEL technology and it establishes a platform for developing other valued coproducts that we believe will find success in the marketplace.”