Hawaii Co. Uses High-Vacuum Distillation for Biodiesel

John Davis

BigIslandlogo1Making the cleanest, highest quality biodiesel is the goal of most refiners of the green fuel. A Hawaii company has completed testing on a high-vacuum distillation (HVD) unit at its new biodiesel facility, and this article from Biodiesel Magazine says the folks at Big Island Biodiesel, a part of Pacific Biodiesel Technologies and in partnership with Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture, are pretty pleased with the results:

BigIslandplant1The state-of-the-art biodiesel refinery, with a capacity of 5.5 MMgy, has since been ramping up production and dialing in the procedures for the HVD unit—a technology that has proven to be an important component in recycling even the most highly degraded waste oils into premium quality biodiesel…

Distillation of biodiesel under high vacuum is a new approach to addressing the shortcomings of traditional biodiesel refining techniques when dealing with degraded feedstock. The biodiesel produced with the new process is an extremely pure fuel.

Due to this advanced technology and the efficiency of the Keaau facility, laboratory test results from BIB distilled product “have been astounding,” according to industry pioneer Bob King, president of Pacific Biodiesel Technologies, the company that developed Big Island Biodiesel. King noted that the fuel quality is exceeding all of the individual biodiesel test component requirements of ASTM standards.

The article goes on to say that the sulfur content of the biodiesel is just a fraction of ASTM D6751 limits, and the glycerin content is 20 times smaller than maximum allowable levels. And officials point out that’s using biodiesel made from used cooking oil and grease trap oil with a 65 percent free fatty acid (FFA) content. In other words, they’re getting higher quality biodiesel from lower-quality feedstocks.