Biodiesel catalyst nears piloting

A $752,000 grant to pilot the newly commercialized Amberlite BD20 polymeric catalyst for biodiesel production from low quality feedstock was recently awarded to Rohm and Hass Co., Philadelphia by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection The pilot scale facility will be mobile and will be made available to biodiesel production facilities in the state.

“The process economics and biodiesel quality are far more favorable with this catalyst technology than other standard solid catalysts,” says Kim Ann Mink, vice president and general manager, ion exchange resins, for Rohm and Haas. The catalyst allows the use of lower cost feedstocks such as animal fats, crude vegetable oils and soap stock, notes Rajiv Banavali, the firm’s process chemicals research manager. “The majority of biodiesel production costs are in feedstocks… Producers need flexibility in feedstocks, plus an economical process that is applicable for all oil streams with a high conversion rate so the biodiesel yield and purity at the end is high,” he explains.

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