Research Project Summary Information
Biodiesel Process Equipment Optimization(ST9431-1)
William A. Guptill
Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel substitute made from new or used vegetable oils or animal fats. When made to standards defined by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), biodiesel can be sold in diesel transportation markets.
Local generators of yellow grease (used cooking oils) are paying rising costs for grease disposal. Guptill Farms successfully established an integrated farm that includes a collection and composting system for 1800 tons/year of grocery wastes from over 20 locations. Some of the generators of food scraps also generate yellow grease, and Guptill Farms has identified other grease generators as well.
Researchers hoped to: 1) optimize feedstock collection routes and equipment, 2) identify and implement energy-saving measures for biodiesel production and storage, and 3) improve testing methods for quality control.
A targeted production rate for this work is a reliable and reproducible 50 gallons/hr for six hrs, while maintaining consistent quality throughout the run. The goal of the original project is the same as the current goal: collection of yellow grease at or below the current cost of $0.87/gallon plus transportation, while being cost-effective for the farm and compatible with other farm labor requirements. The farm strives to reach production levels of 6000 gallons/month, originally targeted by 2003, with a payback of seven years. A successful project would also help Biodiesel Technologies, a New York startup company, sell more of its innovative, small-scale production equipment.
The project achieved some of its goals. The farm produced biodiesel for use on-site. Heat exchangers and other process efficiency improvements were implemented. Difficulties with yellow grease customers complicated collection, and the biodiesel production unit may have been too small for efficient methanol recovery or high-value glycerin use. In addition, since the project was funded, the biodiesel industry has grown much more sophisticated.
William A. Guptill
4505 Tanner Rd.
Nedrow, NY 13120
Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources
NYSERDA Contact Information
R&D - Environment & Energy Res