Sounds Good, Looks Even Better

A silica gel producer has good things to say about biodiesel-and the evidence to prove it
By Luke Geiver | November 17, 2010
Sometimes it's better just to watch than to listen, but in the case of W.R. Grace & Co., a little of each might be the perfect mix to reveal the future of the biodiesel industry in developing countries. W.R. Grace, a catalyst provider from Maryland, says, "The global renewable fuels industry is expected to grow significantly over the next several years, especially in the emerging economies of Latin America and Asia Pacific."

At existing facilities in Kuantan, Malaysia and Sorocaba, Brazil, the company will expand the manufacturing capabilities of silica gel, specifically its very own TriSyl. The gel, which removes contaminants from natural oil feedstocks more efficiently than alternative products, reduces plant effluents (from the filter cake and centrifuge effluents) and, in some cases, can even make it possible to remove both the primary and water wash centrifuges, and its production will be ramped up, "particularly for the production of biodiesel and renewable diesel," according to W.R. Grace.

The Kuantan site already produces more than 40 grades of silica for applications ranging from plastics to consumer goods, apart from biodiesel production use. The Sorocaba facility, operating since 1984, is already the largest in Latin America according to the company, producing more than 50 grades of silica. Construction will begin by the end of the year and production of the gel will start by the third quarter of 2011.
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