Presently, two alkaline catalysts are mostly used in the production process of biodiesel: sodium methoxide and sodium hydroxide. Potassium hydroxide may also be used as a catalyst for biodiesel production.
The current conventional processes result in large amounts of alkaline toxic waste and complexity in downstream processing. Low-grade oils (FFA>2%) cannot be used unless pre-treated, the oil needs to be heated and catalysts cannot be reused. Alkaline catalysts are highly active and water sensitive materials, which require special care and normally lead to saponification. Furthermore, the glycerol by-product generated by both processes is of low quality, requiring special handling to bring it to USP-grade.
TransBiodiesel's enzyme-based catalyst provides many advantages:
- Uses low-grade feedstock defined as second generation feedstock
- Does not generate toxic waste
- Is reusable in multiple batches and can be used in continuous processes
- Does not require heating
- Generates high quality glycerol as a by-product
- Requires less capital equipment
- Significantly reduces production costs
- Enables the use of other alcohols, such as ethanol and n-butanol