I attended an open house yesterday for a company called Domestic Energy Partners….
Here’s what I saw:
I’ve been visiting with these guys and went to their open house that the tribune talked about.
The technology uses what’s called a Solid Catalyst. It’s proprietary to the firm, but it alleviates the need for KOH or NaOH.
They have a chemical engineer that specializes in measuring chemical reactions and has done so for over 16 years. He took on the challenge to find a way to make biodiesel w/o using the “traditional catalysts”.
The result is a technology that allows you to pour in Methanol and Oil into this machine in unmeasured forms (it does the metering for you), run it, and then out the other end comes:
1- Excess methanol
2- Crystal clear biodiesel
3- Extremely pure glycerine
One of the companies partners owns the largest catering company in Utah called Cullinary Crafts and has been using a “pilot” machine to make well over 100,000 gallons of fuel using the technology for his diesel fleet.
On Monday, the building that the prototype pilot processor was in burned to the ground. They’re not sure what caused it, but it’s under investigation. They know the fire didn’t start anywhere near the processing unit, but on the other side of the shed, so it’s kind of “fishy”.
The company did have a really small version of the processor though that they were able to show off at the event. They poured an unmeasured amount of virgin oil into it, then poured another unmeasured amount of methanol into the machine, and let it run for about 15 minutes while the guy talked. He then opened the machine back up & poured out the mixture.It was incredible! Out came Excess Methanol, Biodiesel (and I mean this stuff was crystal clear, purified bio), and the clearest glycerine I’ve ever seen….think food quality, crystal clear glycerine….ready to be sold to market.
They’ve tested the fuel the technology makes twice with a lab and it meets ASTM. In fact, it not only meets the ASTM guideline, it blows WAYYYY past it. I saw the actual test results.
It was just sheerly amazing. Total Glycerine was like .0001.
There’s very few things in Biodiesel that really “wow” me anymore, but I gotta tell ya, this thing is just amazing.
Now, before all of you get all excited about being able to purchase one….they aren’t interested in small, homebrewing units. They’re after “the big boys”. They’re goal is to be able to sell their processing units into large production facilities. ie. 10,000 to 20,000 gallons capacity in a month.
I went down & visited with one of the partners last week and spent a good two hours with him one on one. He showed me the pilot machine (that is now destroyed by fire), showed me his fleet, talked to me about the technology (what he was able to share anyway, it’s really proprietary stuff), and told me about several other things they’d been involved with.
They’ve been involved in Biodiesel since 2000 but they haven’t made themselves really “known” if you will until now as they wanted to make sure what they were doing was bonified and would work.
The thing that impressed me the most about these guy’s is that they weren’t arrogant or pompous or anything like that. They’re just down to earth, honest guy’s that really have found an incredible way to produce biodiesel.
I know a lot of that sounds like hype, but it’s not.
I’m not affiliated with them in any way, shape or form, other than the fact that I live in the same state as them. I’m just incredibly impressed by what they’ve discovered and hope they do really well with it.
They’ve already got their first contract to place a machine with a new company in Utah called BioUSA. The company will take delivery of the unit and will begin making fuel from virgin soy fairly soon.
It’s amazing guys. I was just completely dumbfounded by how clear that glycerin was and how crystal clear the bio was. The thing that really impressed me the most is that these guy’s seem to have really done their homework.
I hear/see/get emails from everyone and their dog about how they’re going to invent “the greatest biodiesel machine in the world”. None of them ever pan out. The difference with this one is that they’ve actually been making the fuel now for a while.
The company, cullinary crafts, has actually used the stuff for nearly a year. The lights, power, heat, and everything at the event yesterday were being powered by biodiesel that they’d made in this machine.I was really, really, really impressed.
I checked w/ a couple people and the “solid catalyst” technology isn’t incredibly “new”. Van Gerpen actually did a presentation at the National Biodiesel Board Annual Conference on Solid Catalyst’s & said that in the next two years we’ll be seeing a lot more of it. It’s the next “phase” of biodiesel production that may help the whole commercial movement make it in a much more profitable way.
Much of the cost associated with commercial biodiesel production isn’t the actual production of the biodiesel itself (the transesterification), but the polishing of the biodiesel (washing, cleansing, etc).
If you think about it, we all can make bio in about 2 hours. It’s that blasted washing/drying/settling that kills the time for us.
Well, with this technology, it eliminates that.
Anyway, it was really amazing stuff….
The Rabid Biodiesel Nut