The Right Stuff

Choosing a biodiesel process technology and equipment provider might be the most difficult-and important-decision any project development group makes. Whether you choose batch or continuous, multi-feedstock or feedstock-specific, the plant design must fit the bill.
By Tom Bryan | February 01, 2005
Bioidiesel IndustriesBiodiesel Industries has one of the world's largest networks of biodiesel production facilities. The company's projects have been implemented with qualified joint-venture partners throughout the world. According to the company, it offers efficiency and quality control in standardized modular production units (MPU) capable of producing up to 3 mmgy. The MPU meets stringent U.S. and European standards. Multiple MPU's can be operated in tandem for higher capacities. Biodiesel Industries has a long-standing Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Navy (the world's largest consumer of diesel fuel), under which new standards for biodiesel production are being pioneered.

Headquarters: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Contact: Russ Teal
Phone: (805) 683-8103
E-mail: inf[email protected]
Web site:

BioDiesel International (BDI)
BDI offers process engineering, construction, start-up services and customer support for biodiesel plants around the world. According to the company, the key to its success is a proven multi-feedstock technology that allows for the processing of several types of feedstocks-virgin vegetable oils, used cooking oils, animal fats or trap grease-with more than 20 percent free fatty acids, and without losses to high quality biodiesel. The biodiesel produced in the process conforms to European Union and U.S. standards. BDI focuses heavily on the rendering industry and provided the process design for a plant expected to come on line in Scotland in the first quarter of 2005; the facility will utilize animal fats and used cooking oils as production feedstocks.

Headquarters: Graz, Austria
Contact: Wilhlem Hammer
Phone: +43 316 4009 100
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

BioDiesel Technologies
GmbH (BDT)
According to BDT, its successful process equipment is the result of professional research and development that started in the late 1990s; the company later entered the biodiesel market with state-of-the-art modular production equipment. Targeting investors that are keen on short delivery times, the Austrian producer claims that it can deliver its modular units in less than five months, providing "reasonable prices and quick return on investment." BDT's compact production units allow investors to "start with a modest capacity and enlarge it step-by-step."

Headquarters: Vienna, Austria
Contact: Dr. Laszlo Kondor
Phone: + 43 1 877 0553
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Biodiesel Systems LLC
Biodiesel Systems is able to plan, design, supply, build, invest in and guarantee turnkey biodiesel plants of varying capacities, according to the company. The limited liability corporation signed a licensing agreement in mid-2004 with Germany's Agrar Technik (AT) that gives it exclusive North American rights to design and build biodiesel plants using AT's proven biodiesel process technology. AT has built biodiesel plants in Germany, Poland and Spain. According to Biodiesel Systems, the AT process provides reliability, flexibility and "scalability" that many project investors find attractive. The company's continuous process is multi-feedstock oriented.

Headquarters: Madison, Wis.
Contact: Rudolf Fischer
Phone: (608) 244-7901
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Biosource Fuels LLC
Strategically aligned with the Dupps Company, an international construction firm with the ability to design, build and install high-quality process equipment and systems, Biosource Fuels offers a continuous biodiesel process technology. According to the company, its process has a number of enabling factors that differentiates from other technologies on the market. The company has a proprietary multi-feedstock production process that is insensitive to free fatty acid content. This reportedly allows producers to manage production with a cost-effective inventory of feedstocks. The company's process also eliminates the water wash process. Biosource Fuels advocates high-quality glycerin recovery.

Headquarters: Butte, Mont.
Contact: Dick Talley
Phone: (406) 723-2222
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Bratney Companies
Bratney Companies provides biodiesel plant equipment, engineering and construction services in cooperation with its technology partner, Cimbria Sket of Germany. Cimbria Sket engineers were instrumental in the development of a patented transesterification biodiesel production process with Oilmill Leer Connemann and Westfalia Separator, according to Bratney Companies. The proven process reportedly provides highly efficient feedstock conversion rates while consistently producing quality biodiesel and glycerin. A recently completed 15-mmgy plant for Bio-Olwerk Magdeburg features Cimbria Sket oilseed pressing, oil refining, transesterification, methanol recovery and glycerin distillation to pharma quality glycerin.

Headquarters: Des Moines, Iowa
Contact: Larry Groce
Phone: (800) 247-6755
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Capital Technologies
International (CTI)
CTI is a private company headquartered at Carnegie Mellon University. CTI has a patent-pending process and sells (or offers joint ventures in) pre-assembled skid-mounted biodiesel plants with capacities ranging from 5 mmgy and up. The processing cost of this process, according to the company, is less than 20 cents per gallon, including the alcohol, labor and electricity. With this process, the catalyst does not circulate in the feedstock or in the resulting biodiesel. The process produces a pure glycerin valued at $3 per gallon, the company claims. Hazardous catalytic materials are never handled at the beginning of the process, and a water wash is not needed at the end of the process. The process produces up to 100 percent free fatty acids with no added costs.

Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Contact: Bruce Polatnick
Phone: (212) 995-1000
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Crown Iron Works Co.
Crown Iron Works is a full-service engineering firm that provides process technology and equipment designs for oil and oilseed processing. Crown Iron Works provided the process design and equipment for one of the nation's largest continuous process biodiesel plants, West Central, a 12-mmgy facility in Ralston, Iowa, built in 2001 by Renewable Energy Group (REG). More recently, Crown Iron Works has provided the process designs for two large-scale biodiesel plants being built in Minnesota. According to the company, the fully continuous process obtains high yields in each phase of production and reduces emulsion losses. The process achieves efficient recovery of excess alcohol and water to reduce emissions, as well as a glycerin treatment step to produce a standard crude glycerin.

Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minn.
Contact: Derek Masterson
Phone: (651) 639-8900
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Lurgi PSI Inc.
Lurgi PSI has the ability to provide complete turnkey biodiesel projects but is primarily known as a project integrator that can bring together services investors would need for a biodiesel project-from greenfield construction to plant expansions. The company is able to plan and build biodiesel plants ranging from 10 mmgy to 60 mmgy, usually using a continuous process that calls for virgin vegetable oils. The company also specializes in the design and construction of plants associated with biodiesel coproducts and processing, namely glycerin. Lurgi PSI has a wide range of experience in handling different material sources in the preparation/extraction of oil from the original seed. Maximizing the yield of the main process stream is the company's primary concern.

Headquarters: Memphis, Tenn.
Contact: Martin Kleber
Phone: (901) 255-6434
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Pacific Biodiesel
Pacific Biodiesel offers turnkey biodiesel production plant installation in two basic configurations: 400,000 gallon-per-year facilities, expandable in 200,000 gallon-per-year increments; or 800,000 gallon-per-year plants, expandable in 400,000 gallon-per-year increments. All plants built by Pacific Biodiesel process used and/or virgin vegetable oil or animal fats into quality ASTM 6751 biodiesel fuel. Lab equipment, on-site training and support services are included in the turnkey packages, as well as long-term technical support. Available options include two-stage reaction, methanol recovery and water recycling. Partnership agreements are also possible.

Headquarters: Kahului, Hawaii
Contact: Bob King
Phone: (808) 877-3144
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Renewable Energy Group (REG)
REG, a joint venture between Todd & Sargent and West Central Cooperative, is a leading U.S. build/design, turnkey construction service that utilizes a state-of-the-art, efficient, low-cost, continuous flow process. The company is currently producing high-quality biodiesel at its West Central plant in Ralston, Iowa. As part of the company's turnkey solution, it offers observation of the live plant, plus a nationwide marketing network.

Headquarters: Ralston, Iowa
Contact: Myron Danzer
Phone: (712) 667-3390
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Superior Process Technologies Inc.
Created through a partnership with Superior Process Technologies LLC and Baker Commodities Inc., Superior Process Technologies Inc. offers process engineering and design services for the production of biodiesel, glycerin and basic oleochemicals, as well as animal and vegetable oil products. The company offers a multi-feedstock process design, as well as engineering, and sales and marketing services. Baker Commodities is a leader in rendering meat byproducts and recycleable cooking oils and has manufacturing facilities located throughout the United States.

Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minn.
Contact: David Belseth
Phone: (612) 924-7184
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:
Westfalia Separator Inc.

Westfalia Separator Inc.
uses its separators in conjunction with a Connemann process to create innovative technology that allows for the economical production of high-grade biodiesel through complete process lines, according to the company. The Connemann process, which is licensed to Westfalia, offers a simple, fully continuous operation that produces high-quality, high-volume biodiesel production with minimal space requirements. Within the process, Westfalia separators are used as stand-alone machines for pre-clarification, spent oil clarification and refining. The company's separators are also used for the separation of catalysts and glycerin from biodiesel and the separation of salts from biodiesel washing, as well as glycerin clarification. The company has designed plants with an average production capacity of 20 mmgy.

Headquarters: Northvale, N.J.
Contact: Keith Funsch
Phone: (800) 722-6622
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:
The statements and/or claims of the companies represented in this feature do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Biodiesel Magazine. Not all biodiesel process technology and/or equipment companies were represented in this article. Biodiesel Magazine made efforts to contact each biodiesel process technology company in its database prior to publishing this article.

Tom Bryan is editorial director of Biodiesel Magazine. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (701) 746-8385.
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