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California Ethanol Mill to Build Novel Biodiesel Refinery On-Site
by Ron Kotrba (Biodiesel Magazine) A California ethanol plant is being awarded a grant from the state energy commission to help build a biodiesel production facility on-site. Calgren Renewable Fuels, an ethanol refinery in Pixley, California—the heart of dairy country—already features a recently constructed anaerobic digester that powers the facility’s 57 MMgy of ethanol production, and now the integrated biorefinery plans to diversify even further by adding a unique biodiesel technology to its renewable energy repertoire.
Calgren Renewable Fuels received a notice of proposed award for $3.6 million from the California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The award would require $4.9 million in match funding. The funds will be used to construct a supercritical biodiesel plant on-site engineered and built by Jatrodiesel Inc., similar to the first commercial Super plant Jatrodiesel installed at the Patriot Renewable Fuels ethanol plant in Annawan, Illinois, now owned by Cenex Harvest States.
Jatrodiesel describes its Super technology as a single-stage process that eliminates esterification and transesterification, and puts no limit on free fatty acid (FFA) levels in feedstock. According to the company, the process cuts the cost of traditional biodiesel refining by 25 to 28 percent, in part by eliminating the need for conventional catalysts. Feedstock is mixed with methanol and is introduced into the Super column, which operates in a supercritical environment. High temperatures and pressures are maintained in a continuous process and conversion occurs in minutes with minimal yield loss. Water content also has no effect on the process. The mixture coming from the Super column is then sent through separation to isolate biodiesel from glycerin, and the excess methanol is recovered. The biodiesel is then either water- or dry-washed to remove excess glycerin.
The facility will be able to produce more than 5 MMgy of biodiesel from high-FFA feedstock, including distillers corn oil produced on-site from Calgren Renewable Fuels’ ethanol process, along with brown grease, acid oils and other low-cost feedstock transported from off-site. READ MORE
(Ethanol Producer Magazine)