Biodiesel Experts Int'l rolls out new enzymatic skid processors

By Ron Kotrba | January 04, 2013

Biodiesel Experts International has unveiled its new, fully automated, skid-mounted enzymatic biodiesel processing system. After two years of development work to hone the process and build the first unit, the firm is now working to fill orders from customers around the globe.

“This is the first completely automated enzymatic system in the world,” said Ernie DeMartino, president and CEO of Pearland, Texas-based Biodiesel Experts International.

The systems can be ordered in various sizes, or production volumes, depending on the needs of the customer, with the smallest pilot unit rated at 50 liters (13.2 gallons) per hour. The pilot unit, dubbed Precision E50D—where “E” stands for enzymatic, “50” represents liters per hour and “D” means distillation—comes equipped with a centrifuge to preclean the feedstock, premix tanks, stirred reactors, settling tanks, a soap centrifuge, a wiped film evaporator to distill the biodiesel, metering pumps, automated valves, various sensors (pH, temperature, level, pressure, flow meters), and an automatic control panel, completely wired, piped and ready to use.

According to DeMartino, the biodiesel is “water white” and the quality of glycerin is better than most crude from conventional biodiesel processing; with 2 to 3 percent methanol, 7 to 8 percent water and no salts. He said biodiesel yield from the convertible oil is 99.5 percent.  

The Precision enzymatic systems can process any level of free fatty acids (FFAs), from zero to 100 percent, and uses only a small amount of caustic in a purification treatment on the backend for units without a wiped film evaporator. No pretreatment is needed with the enzymatic system to reduce FFAs, and conversion takes place at 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

DeMartino told Biodiesel Magazine that the pilot Precision E50D costs around $100,000 and includes Israeli partner TransBiodiesel’s methanol-resistant enzyme technology, branded TransZyme. Estimated per-gallon operational cost, according to DeMartino, is between 85 cents to $1, including the enzymes.

Some of the major players in the ethanol industry are considering converting their corn oil to biodiesel on-site with the Biodiesel Experts International’s Precision enzymatic system, DeMartino said, rather than selling it as animal feed or biodiesel feedstock, to help beef up thin margins in today’s ethanol business. He said no degumming or dewaxing is required to pretreat the corn oil, either. “The enzymes take care of it,” DeMartino said.

Biodiesel Experts International has orders for an E800 container unit from Italy, an E1000 unit from Montenegro, an E300 system on order from Dallas, and a Precision E50D system for a customer in Hong Kong.

To read more about the development of the Precision system, click here

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