Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Development of a Reactor for High Efficiency Biodiesel Production(ST10867-1)

United Environment and Energy LLC


Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel substitute made from new or used vegetable oils or animal fats. Researchers hope to reduce the cost of biodiesel production by developing a system consisting of a reusable catalyst that is fixed in a novel reactor with a ceramic honeycomb substrate. Thousands of parallel channels, coated with the catalyst, allow a high flow rate. The catalyst was developed in previous NYSERDA work; this effort would improve the delivery system for the catalyst, which is currently pelleted for used in a packed bed reactor. Optimal honeycomb geometry and catalyst loading for the new reactor have already been determined.

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Project Description

Specific objectives include: 1) scale up the coating system; 2) construct a 0.8 million gallon/year pilot plant; 3) test the reactor at the pilot plant; 4) produce a prototype reactor with a two million gallon/year capacity; 5) evaluate the reactor on-site at the facility of a potential customer – a well-known national biodiesel technology developer (focusing on lifespan testing and evaluation); 6) conduct a comprehensive economic analysis; and, 7) finalize product specifications and perform a final review.


The annual market size is estimated to be $94 million by 2010, and 25 direct jobs are projected. By developing a reusable catalyst and making the process continuous, rather than batch, the proposers have reduced both capital and operating costs of biodiesel production. The improved process increases equipment productivity, reduces plant size, avoids the use of strong acids and extensive water washing, and results in a higher glycerol purity than current methods, which produce glycerol at about 80% purity. Small mobile units are possible, or the unit can be scaled up. The proposers hope to manufacture this unit in New York for sale to biodiesel producers nationwide.

Project Results

The catalyst has proven effective at various scales. The catalyst and support design have been developed into an integrated system. During this project, the reactor was scaled up and the reactor design was refined. The technology was evaluated at UEE and another biodiesel producer’s facility. Economic analysis was also conducted.


United Environment and Energy LLC
111 Ridge Rd
Horseheads, NY 14845

Principle Investigator

Ben Wen

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Judy Jarnefeld


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10867-1

Last Updated: 3/15/2012