Rothsay Biodiesel adds D&E system

By Ron Kotrba | November 20, 2007
Rothsay Biodiesel, a 9 MMgy biodiesel plant in Montreal, Quebec, installed a distillation and evaporation system this fall for better purification of its animal-fat-derived biodiesel. "We added the system really to lower any problems with sulfur and to clean up our biodiesel to make it a water-clear product," said Alan Rickard, Rothsay Biodiesel spokesman. "We've always met [quality] specifications, but what this added was a degree of certainty around ratability for the product."

Rickard told Biodiesel Magazine that the modification was conceived in early 2007 and installation of the columns began in June, followed by operations in September. He said he couldn't reveal which company provided the new setup because of confidentiality agreements, nor could he disclose the cost of the upgrade.

A separate and ongoing process modification to Rothsay Biodiesel includes the more rigorous pretreatment of its feedstock. Rothsay Biodiesel is a division of renderer Rothsay, owned by Maple Leaf Foods. It uses rendered animal fats for transesterification into biodiesel. Rendered fats and greases have higher percentages of free fatty acids, which must go through an esterification process prior to conversion to reduce soap production. "It's been an ongoing process on the front-end modifications," Rickard said. "It's not as definitive as the [distillation and evaporation project], where we just built something on. We changed our actual process slightly, so we now do a pretreatment for the raw materials before they go into the system."
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