Biodiesel Plants Employing Modular Designs

John Davis

In a world of tight margins, biodiesel producers are looking for an edge that will help them maintain their profitability. That edge might come in the form of modular designs for their refineries.

This article from Biodiesel Magazine says a compact modular plant design using proven techniques can improve biodiesel plant economics and help the construction or expansion process, while saving the builder and/or operator moneY:

Biodiesel plants represent an ideal opportunity to employ modular designs. Their scale lends itself well to modularization of all or significant portions of the production process. Modular techniques can positively impact equipment selection and configuration, producing a compact plant layout, and improving product quality and profitability.

Modular designs typically have a smaller footprint than field-erected plants. Storage tanks are usually free-standing, but the vast majority of the process equipment can be modularized and strategically located, lowering capital costs and improving plant efficiency. A well-implemented modular design takes advantage of a combination of horizontal and vertical layouts to locate equipment in an optimum spatial relationship. An experienced modular system designer can minimize space requirements, reduce piping runs and, in some cases, eliminate pumping requirements by allowing for gravitational flow.

The article goes on to say that a modular design can help a refiner optimize key process steps, assist in integrating quality assurance measures, and offers the ability to incorporate heat integration methodology.