By Dr. Ahmed Tafesh | BioDiesel Magazine | December 30, 2014
TransBiodiesel supplies its flagship product to the biodiesel production industry under the brand name TransZyme A, providing the best use cost when dealing with high-FFA feedstock, delivering greater yields and efficiencies to biodiesel producers.
TransBiodiesel entered the biofuel arena with its new, game-changing technology and IP-protected technology related to preparation of immobilized enzymes, or biocatalysts, for production of biodiesel. The company offers an advanced enzymatic technology platform to assist biodiesel companies in fueling the world by producing ASTM and EN biodiesel from any grade of feedstocks with free fatty acid (FFA) content running the spectrum from zero to 100 percent, including used cooking oil, palm fatty acid distillates, crude plant oils and brown grease.
The immobilized enzyme used in a continuous, stirred tank reaction process is mainly featured with its high simultaneous esterification and transesterification activities, tolerance to high concentrations of methanol and water in the reaction medium, and its long-term operational lifetime without having to replace it for six to 12 months, depending on the feedstock, which makes it economically viable for use in biodiesel production. One ton of the biocatalyst can produce 3,000 to 4,000 tons of biodiesel.
Our value proposition helps companies cut the cost of biodiesel production, opens the possibility of producing more biodiesel using alternative, lower-grade feedstocks, and reduces harm to the environment. Since feedstock represents the largest share of the price of biodiesel (75 to 90 percent), there is a significant need to drive down feedstock costs. The higher the FFA concentration in feedstock, the lower the feedstock price, and therefore a better process economy for the final products can be achieved.
Such inexpensive feedstocks involve some pretreatment steps, which include filtering the oil down to 5 microns to prevent particles from colliding with the enzyme beads. The posttreatment proprietary method developed by TransBiodiesel warrantees to achieve ASTM-spec biodiesel when applied on all reaction mixtures obtained from using the different low-quality feedstocks. Depending on the FFA content of the feedstock, the quality of the formed glycerol is almost salt-free and transparent, which can be upgraded to USP-grade glycerol without distillation.
TransBiodiesel has a very strong relationship with U.S. oil and biodiesel producers. We have ongoing collaborations with U.S. customers, including a joint venture partnership with Appalachian Biofuels to produce 28 MMgy using TransBiodiesel’s immobilized enzyme technology in Russell County, Virginia, by August; a 1 MMgy pilot plant with another company; and a third U.S. partnership with a project to produce 5 MMgy of biodiesel by February.
In collaboration with the Korean company M-Energy, TransBiodiesel has developed and implemented a biodiesel production process using immobilized enzymes to produce ASTM biodiesel at a rate of 8 MMgy. TransBiodiesel has several international collaborations and it seems to be making itself at home throughout the world.
TransBiodiesel supplies its flagship product to the biodiesel production industry under the brand name TransZyme A, providing the best use cost when dealing with high-FFA feedstock, delivering greater yields and efficiencies to biodiesel producers than conventional chemical processing. TransBiodiesel also supplies customers with the engineering assistance they may need. The company is willing to collaborate and partner with serious companies in the form of joint ventures to produce biodiesel enzymatically.
The benefits of using immobilized enzymes in the production of biodiesel have been adopted on a large scale, and the hurdles of making the process economically viable on a commercial scale have been overcome. TransBiodiesel can save producers several million dollars a year in costs related to feedstocks, chemicals, energy and cleanup. Our immobilized enzyme technology and joint venture propositions are available solutions for continued growth in the biodiesel sector.
Author: Ahmed Tafesh
Chief Technology Officer, TransBiodiesel