SRS, Biodiesel Experts Develop Enzyme Catalyst

John Davis

srsintlbiodieselA pair of biodiesel experts have teamed up to develop an enzyme catalyst for biodiesel. SRS International‘s and Biodiesel Experts‘ transesterification system for biodiesel production uses enzymes to produce efficiently quality biodiesel on any scale, allowing SRS to supply turnkey enzymatic biodiesel production facilities.

While using high-FFA feedstock, the primary job of the enzyme becomes the conversion of FFA to FAME. The enzymes are able to convert high-FFA feedstock with reaction chemistry into FAME by performing both transesterification and esterification simultaneously. This occurs in two steps. (1) The glycerides are first hydrolyzed to FFA (2) The FFA and methanol are esterified to produce FAME. Careful monitoring during the reaction of methanol, water and enzymes, temperature, and rate of conversion are critical to ensure high-quality finished biodiesel and optimize the number of enzyme reuses.

“We are excited to be working with Biodiesel Experts. Incorporating their enzymatic technology into our biodiesel refinery processes is an important milestone to add to our current technologies,” said George Hawranik, Senior Engineer of SRS International. “The hurdle of making enzyme catalyzed transesterification economically viable on a commercial scale has been overcome.” “The enzymatic process works at a production cost per gallon that is comparable to that of traditional biodiesel, requires lower capital investment, allows the use of less expensive, more varied feedstocks with free fatty acid content as high as 100 percent and the enzymes are immobilized so they can be used for long periods without replenishing, making it economically feasible.”

Biodiesel Experts officials say this enzymatic process knowledge will revolutionize the biodiesel industry by allowing producers to cut production costs and allow them to use up to 100 percent FFA feedstock.