Preview: the November/December issue of Biodiesel Magazine

What's in store for the next print edition
By Ron Kotrba | November 05, 2014

The November/December issue of Biodiesel Magazine is now complete, and I would like to share some of its contents with you. The split theme is Plant Maintenance & Safety/Fuel Additives, and we feature several articles on these topics.

For my featured article on plant safety, “Safety Your Way,” I talk with three biodiesel producers and two process technology providers about procedural and design elements they incorporate into their facilities to mitigate risk in biodiesel production. My sources include Pacific Biodiesel’s Vice President Kelly King, Director of Operations Michael Heinemann, and Safety Officer Joe Kashuba; Piedmont Biofuels’ President Lyle Estill; Kelley Green Biofuel’s founder and CEO Kristopher Kelley; Crown Iron Works’ Biodiesel Product Sales Manager Derek Masterson; and WB Services’ President and CEO Ron Beemiller.

Since methanol is clearly the most dangerous chemical housed in a biodiesel plant, a good portion of the article is dedicated to its safe handling, designs to minimize exposure and fire in case of plant upsets, and proper equipment to reduce explosion risks. But the article also covers much more, including the importance of having personal protection equipment that is in good working order, updating Process Safety Management programs, training, and how maintenance ties in with plant safety. Check out “Safety Your Way” in the November/December 2014 print edition of Biodiesel Magazine hitting your mailboxes and going live on our website soon.

In my other featured article, “Global Biodiesel Additive Research Roundup,” I detail various efforts from around the world—Malaysia, Germany and the U.S.—in which researchers seek to improve biodiesel cold flow properties, and better understand the interactions between aged, additized biodiesel blends and freshly added fuel (for home heating, since fuel blends can sit in a tank from spring until the following fall when a new delivery is brought—something I am personally interested in since I use biodiesel blends in an oilheat furnace to heat my house). While details on the latter were sparse since the project is ongoing, I intend to follow up with Germany-based DGMK and AGQM on results from the project once results are in. I also talk with Brian Hess of Evonik Corp. who discusses some of Evonik’s latest R&D efforts that have culminated in multifunctional cold flow improvers. For example, Viscoplex 10-780 provides both cold flow improvement and oxidation stability. A good portion of the article is dedicated to an interview I conducted with Robert Dunn at USDA-ARS, a renowned expert in biodiesel cold flow. Dunn and colleagues recently completed a study looking at using branched chain esters as additives (more appropriately as diluents due to the percentage of concentration) in various biodiesels. Check out the full article for details and results.

We also feature a back-of-the-book contribution article from Texon LP’s Renewable Fuels General Manager Rob Fransham and University of Idaho’s well-known biodiesel expert Jon Van Gerpen, titled, “Reducing Risk of Spontaneous Combustion.” The two discuss a simple method employed at Texon’s biodiesel distribution terminal in Houston to greatly reduce risk of auto ignition of biodiesel-laden filters. The method can be employed at terminals and biodiesel plants. In an industry that keeps so many process techniques close to its vest, it’s refreshing to hear these authors say, “An industry that shares safety best practices among themselves makes everyone better able to protect their employees, the communities within which we operate, and the industry itself. The authors present this safety tip with that principle in mind.” Be sure to read their contribution article in our November/December issue of Biodiesel Magazine to learn about the safety method employed at Texon to reduce the risk of spontaneous combustion.

This issue’s Talking Point column, “Knowledge Best Defense for Fire Risks,” is authored by Art Krugler, principal at Krugler Engineering Group Inc. Krugler’s piece comes from decades of experience in plant design and operations and covers a wide variety of safety tips and observations.

For our Legal Perspective column, Fredrikson & Byron attorneys Richard Weiner and Sharon K. Freier  give us “New U.S. Sanctions Against Russia Impact U.S. Biofuels Companies,” which details how to avoid being on the wrong side of the law if you conduct biofuel business in Russia these days.

As always, we feature our four-page Inside NBB section, our FrontEnd news pieces, in addition to Business Briefs and more.

Thanks to all our contributing writers who helped shape this issue’s editorial content.

Finally, I would like to thank our advertisers for their continued support:

2015 International Biomass Conference & Expo

Crown Iron Works Company


Evonik Corporation


Iowa Central Fuel Testing Lab

Louis Dreyfus

Methes Energies

NBB National Biodiesel Board

The Pennsylvania State University