Enzymatic Process Touted for Biodiesel Production

John Davis

A Texas-based company claims its enzymatic process for turning waste grease into clean-burning biodiesel will save money and can be used on existing biodiesel plants.

Biodiesel Experts International LLC
of Pearland, near Houston, calls its process “revolutionary” and is offering to provide engineering, onsite supervision, startup, training, enzyme material, and complete plants:

The enzymatic process consist of two (2) different types of enzyme, one for tranesterification and one for esterification. Feed stocks with 0-100 FFA can be processed at an operating temperature of ONLY 85 F and minimal methanol required. There is no caustics required and no soap formation. The byproducts produced are high quality glycerin and water. This enzymatic process can also be used only for FFA reduction with proved results to reduce FFA levels to less than 1 from any level of FFA with an operating temperature of ONLY 85 F. The methanol requirement is less than 15% by weight for FFA reduction.

We checked with the National Biodiesel Board about this outfit and its claims, and while the NBB “does not investigate, evaluate, or recommend biodiesel production techniques or equipment,” it does say the technology could prove to be a promising innovation to make biodiesel production more economical:

“The use of enzymes for biodiesel production is one such innovation that holds promise. In fact, there were two presentations on enzymatic biodiesel production at the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo this year. As with any biodiesel process technology, be it new or old, it is absolutely critical the reaction go completely to the mono-alkyl ester (i.e. biodiesel) and that the resulting product meets or exceeds all the parameters in ASTM D6751.”

Biodiesel, NBB