Healy Biodiesel works with Novozymes for enzymatic processing

By Erin Voegele | May 04, 2012

Sedgwick, Kan.-based Healy Biodiesel Inc. is expanding its operations, with the intent to implement enzymatic biodiesel production at its new location. According to Ben Healy, president of Healy Biodiesel, his company has been testing the enzymatic process developed by Novozymes, and expects to roll out the technology on a commercial-scale within the next few months.

Healy Biodiesel is moving to a new location within Sedgwick. Healy noted the change was needed, as his company has outgrown its current location. In addition to space constraints at the current plant, Healy said that there was also a need to update his company’s equipment.

The vast majority of equipment installed in the new location will be new. “We actually purchased a shutdown biodiesel plant a few months back, and will using a lot of their tankage, some of their pumps and some of the major pieces of equipment they were using,” Healy said. “Beyond that, we are building everything new around it. Once complete, the new facility will have an annual capacity of just over 1 million gallons per year. 

According to Healy, his company is currently testing Novozymes’ enzymes. “We’ve had a lot of success so far,” he said. “We need to get it into the larger scale [where] we will be producing 3,500 gallons per day. “We’ve only done smaller batches with their technology, but so far it looks promising and we do expect to roll out using Novozymes’ enzymes within the next few months if everything goes as planned.”

Healy said one of the motivations his company had in considering the enzymatic process was feedstock availability. “We feel Novozymes is going to give us the opportunity to go after cheaper feedstock because it can handle higher FFA material,” he said. “That’s our main goal. Aside from that, we do think it is going to make higher quality fuel.”

One of the major advantages of the Novozyme technology, said Healy, is that him company didn’t have to make significant investments in equipment that wouldn’t ordinarily be found at biodiesel plants. “We were able to use the tanks and pumps and agitators that we have,” he said. “So, the capital investment was not huge.”

While Healy Biodiesel currently takes in only waste cooking oil as feedstock, Healy noted that the company will likely expand to process additional feedstocks in the future. Specifically, he said the new plant will likely also convert corn oil and waste fats and greases, such as trap grease, into fuel.

Healy Biodiesel has considered transitioning to hydroprocessed renewable diesel production in the past. In mid-2009 the company announced it had signed a letter of intent with Cetane Energy LLC to license a renewable diesel technology. According to information Healy shared with Biodiesel Magazine at that time, that move was also motivated by feedstock flexibility and fuel quality needs.

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