Hybrid.T Biodiesel Process

RPS introduces Hybrid.T Biodiesel Production Process to convert oils & fats with a fatty acid range between 0 – 20 percent to high-quality Methyl Esters (Biodiesel). The Hybrid.T process combines the advantages of both Supercritical and Conventional Transesterification processes, and it is the most efficient method to produce Biodiesel compared to the existing Biodiesel production technologies.

The filtered and degummed feedstock is stripped of fatty acids to produce low fatty acid feedstock and converted to Methyl Esters through Conventional Transesterification step with very low base catalyst consumption. The stripped high fatty acid feedstock is converted to Methyl Esters using the Supercritical Esterification step without acid catalyst whatsoever. The Methyl Esters produced through both Transesterification and Supercritical steps are blended to be washed and distilled to 98 percent yield Biodiesel. The total Methanol used in the process is far below a conventional method which helps reduce methanol recovery and distillation cost. There is no salt formation in the process, due to no use of an acid catalyst. The glycerin quality is quite superior and exceeds 95 percent purity. The overall processing cost to produce Biodiesel is the lowest in the industry.

Hybrid.T Process Flow Diagram

Hybrid.T Process Advantages

 

  1. Process can handle Oils & Fats up to 20% FFA.
  2. Methanol usage 1/4th compared to Acid Esterification.
  3. SMO usage 1/4th compared to Conventional Process.
  4. No use of catalyst in Supercritical step whatsoever.
  5. 98% by weight Biodiesel production yield.
  6. Lowest processing cost in the Industry.
  7. No salt deposits with low maintenance.
  8. Distilled Biodiesel that exceeds ASTM-6751 standards.
  9. Smaller footprint, delivered within 8 to 10 months.
RPS provides a wide range of Feedstock Filtration processes depending on the impurity of the primary feedstock.

Usually, the feedstocks consumed in the Biodiesel industry range from vegetable oils to animal fats. The impurities in Vegetable oils such as gums, phospholipids, proteins, etc that are insoluble in oils when hydrated and are extracted using centrifugal force. The same applies to particulate matter and protein in animal fats.

Any residual impurity left in the feedstock after the first stage of washing can is reduced by either second stage water-washing the oil or through special sorbents and filtration.

We have developed a simplified Feedstock Filtration process that maintains the feedstock quality for Biodiesel production.

Fat Stripping Column is a well developed technology, been used by the oils and fats industry for decades. RPS has refined the technology by improving the column design to be able to operate efficiently with high efficiency packed and tray beds. The de-gummed high fatty acid feedstock is introduced into the Fat Stripping Column to strip the fatty acid from the feedstock to less than 0.5% wt. FFA. The collected Free Fatty Acid is sent to the Supercritical Process and the low FFA feedstock is sent to the Trans-esterification process for further processing. The Fat Stripping Column uses less energy than esterification and the supercritical process. Also, there is not use of methanol in this step.

Transesterification process is a well established simple process. We have improved this process for better reaction rates through efficient reactor design and in two stages. Our model allows less use of methanol and base catalyst, with low energy consumption. The wet glycerin is drawn from both the transesterification stages continuously to accelerate the reaction rates above 98.7 percent. RPS built several Transesterification systems around the world and improved them over the years.

The Fatty Acid stream separated from the Fatty Acid Separation Column is blended with far less Methanol compared to Acid Esterification and introduced into a Supercritical column under high pressure and temperature. The Supercritical step converts the Fatty Acids to Methyl Esters in a single step with 99 percent conversion. This unit has a tiny footprint and is highly efficient compared to Acid Esterification, Glycerolysis or Enzymatic process methods.

RPS is the only firm that offers Supercritical Esterification. We hold the patent rights for this method. We have deployed several Supercritical facilities and built the largest supercritical based Biodiesel production facility to date. The Supercritical Esterification step is a continuous hands-free operation that needs no monitoring and extremely safe. We have mastered, high pressure and temperature reactions over several years of research, development and operation experience.

The Wet Methyl Esters produced from, Transesterification and Supercritical steps are washed with recycled process water in a high-speed centrifuge. The Disc Stack Centrifuge used for the washing step allow less use of process water compared to a Conventional washing step. Also, due to high G-forces inside the centrifuge, the impurity levels in Methyl Esters such as soaps and free glycerin are maintained far below the ASTM-6751 specifications. RPS deployed several Disc Stack Centrifuges over the years for the washing step, and we work with GEA Westfalia for the Centrifuge needs.

In the washing step, we use water between 5 to 10 percent ratio to the Methyl Ester flow. Also, the process water used in the washing step is recovered and reused.

The washed Methyl Ester is distilled under deep vacuum and high temperature to produce clear Biodiesel that exceeds ASTM-6751 specification. Our distillation columns are far more efficient compared to the competition. Our distillation columns use far less reflux feedback to the column, which helps reduce energy. The loss incurred from column bottoms is less than 2 percent. The column bottoms are fed back into the filtration unit to improve yields, and some part of it separated for storage. Read more…

The decanted wet glycerin stream from Transesterification step and washed water from the Washing step are blended and neutralized before introducing into the Methanol Distillation.

Post Methanol Distillation, the wet glycerin is fed into a Glycerin Dryer to recover process water and reused in the Washing step. The dried Glycerin is stored for sale, and the glycerin purity is maintained above 80 percent.

The neutralized Wet Glycerin and Washed Water are fed to the Methanol Distillation Column under atmospheric pressure to recover and distill methanol to 99.95 percent purity. Our Methanol Distillation Columns have stripping section with trays to handle viscous liquids and packed beds for the rectification section. Our Methanol Distillation Column operates at low reflux ratio to be energy efficient. RPS has deployed several Column around the world, and we have extensive experience for any complex feed compositions. Read more…

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