Repackaging a biodiesel waste stream

By Ron Kotrba | March 23, 2010
Posted April 21, 2010

Small biodiesel producers who cannot afford methanol recovery systems and are unsure of what to do with their methanol-laden wash water may have a new byproduct marketing opportunity to look forward to.

Jim Westphal, director at Heartland Biodiesel Supply in Missouri Valley, Iowa, said his company has been helping small producers over the past four years deal with solving the issue of what to do with wash water. "We had to find a way to utilize what we had without methanol recovery," he said. "Many producers just could not afford methanol recovery upon start up."

The biodiesel cleaning process developed by Westphal and company involves a combination of methods. Biodiesel is first passed through a dry-wash process using a combination of Eco2Pure and ion resin where the soaps and free glycerin are removed, along with other minor contaminants. Then the biodiesel is run through a water-washing process to remove residual methanol, after which the methanol/water stream is run through a proprietary filter system to remove any residual fuel or remaining contaminants. The result is a purified blend of methanol and water.

Westphal said that mixture is perfect for methanol-water injection systems, aftermarket devices for diesel engines used for performance and heavy hauling. He said Heartland Biodiesel Supply will market its injection fluid under the name "Go-Juice."

Methanol-water injection systems, which can range in price from $300 to $800 dollars, come with a pump, special nozzles and fitting accessories. Methanol-water injection systems can increase fuel mileage, add horsepower, cool combustion and exhaust temperatures, thereby helping reduce NOx formation. A special tank can be bought for the system, or the vehicle's existing windshield washer fluid tank can be used.

Westphal said his company has also developed a windshield washer fluid from the same biodiesel waste-stream recovery process to be marketed under the name "Bio-Juice."

He said the company is also working on new ways to utilize waste glycerin but gave no further details.
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