Fiber Reactor (“FR”) technology permits a continuous process for the transesterification of triglycerides to biodiesel. Both methyl and ethyl alcohols can be used to make fatty acid esters from a variety of oils. Water-washing with an FR after transesterification removes the majority of impurities and unreacted alcohol, and then the biodiesel can be finished with a resin or distillation.
While methanol is the industry standard for biodiesel production, biodiesel made with ethanol results in better cloud point, cetane numbers and carbon score. FR technology offers the lowest capital and variable costs for DCO to biodiesel. The 2014-2019 cost of capital per gallon of biodiesel capacity was $1.50-$3.50 per gallon. The FR-based system for 5-15 MM gallons of annual capacity costs $0.85-$2.50 per gallon. The system operates at low pressure and temperature resulting in a safer, lower energy option compared to existing processes. This technology leverages existing materials at ethanol plants to provide low carbon score biodiesel, thereby limiting capital required.