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Kwikpower Licenses Mobile Biodiesel Refinery Process from Cambridge University

Pilot OFR biodiesel rig at Cambridge

Kwikpower International is licensing a process developed at Cambridge University that enables the continuous production of biodiesel using a mobile refinery.

Developed by Professor Malcolm Mackley and team in the Department of Chemical Engineering, the system uses an oscillatory flow reactor and was demonstrated at the Clean Energy Technology Show in London earlier this year.

Oscillatory flow reactors (OFR) exploit the uniform and efficient vortex mixing that can be achieved when an oscillatory fluid motion interacts with orifice plate baffles in a tube.

OFRs are well-suited for performing long residence-time reactions but with a form factor much more compact than a conventional tubular reactor—in other words, a good technology for a mobile application.

Not only can use of an OFR result in a smaller reactor, it can also enable the conversion of a batch process (such as conventional biodiesel production) to a continuous process, improving the economics and even perhaps reducing the residence time.

Kwikpower’s engineering subsidiary is already at work integrating the new reactor design into a continuous production module which will fit into a 40-foot container.

This technology offers real promise to allow us to reduce the time and cost of production of bio-diesel from a variety of feedstocks, allowing bio-diesel to compete on a level playing field with crude oil derived diesel.

—Dr. Jim Watkins, CEO and Chairman of Kwikpower

Flowchart of OFR biodiesel pilot plant

In its work on the OFR biodiesel reactor, the Cambridge team also developed a continuous settler/coalescer unit to separate the biodiesel from the glycerol major by-product.

Biodiesel produced at this stage contains excessive levels of methanol, and must be waterwashed. The team developed a continuous countercurrent oscillatory wash column. This is followed by a coalescer (a sand-bed), which forces most of the water suspended in the biodiesel from the washer to coalesce into a separate phase.

This step is followed by a salt drying bed to remove the small amounts of water remaining after the coalescer. The last two unit operations are essentially the same as those used in the petrodiesel industry to remove water.

The £1.25 million (US$2.2 million) technology transfer deal was enabled by UTEK, a company focused on matching up innovative technologies from universities and research laboratories worldwide innovative with corporate buyers.



Dr Fulcieri Maltini

please keep me informed

john owens


Could you please send me information about the development of this biodiesel refinery and any other information. Are the plants available to buy yet?

Neil Brownlie

I am doing a design project at uni (Heriot Watt University) on Bio diesel we need information, from flow charts to costs. Any help would be appreciated.

Florian Harja

Dear Sir, Madam,
i am from Romania and i would like to know more about the refining facilities as currently at our university we have a research grant regarding the production of high grade oils for biodiesel refining and we are interested in purchasing/developing a refining rig to test/produce biodiesel from our oils.
Any info/help would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.
Kind regards.

Nav Koonar

I am doing a plant design project on biodiesel. If there is any information you can send regarding OFRs that would be great because there is not much information available to do our claculations and mass and energy balances on the whole process. Send a flow sheet if possible.


Hi, I from to Peru,i like to reveived information about the different plants of biodiesel on the world and the different magazine of biodiesel onn the word,
Andrés Ballón Flores

Oliver Nicholson

Hi there,

I am a final year engineering student in Sydney, Australia.

For my thesis I am making a continuous production biodiesel making plant. Right now I am focusing on methods to accelerate the separation of the biodiesel and glycerine. I have recently been put onto coalescers as a method for separation.

Does anyone here know any information regarding such units?


Markus Wiendieck

Please let me know more about the production units. Specifically I am interested in whether it is a multi-feed system and what annual capacity it has. Is the system installed and running?

ross march

excellent system and i hope it becomes availabe soon
My question is how do you determine the tye of oil to put in as they are all different types.

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