|The dual-reactor Esterfip-H process flow diagram.|
Diester Industrie, the French biodiesel pioneer, has awarded Technip, one of the top five global providers of full-service engineering and construction services in the hydrocarbons and petrochemicals industries, a turnkey contract for another new biodiesel plant based on the Axens Esterfip-H process. The plant will be built in Montoir-de-Bretagne, near Saint Nazaire, France.
The new plant, with a future capacity of 250,000 tonnes per year (75.5 million gallons US per year), will come online in the spring of 2007. In January, Diester contracted with Technip for a new 100,000-tonnes/year biodiesel unit (about 30.2 million gallons US) expansion of another diesel plant, again using the Esterfip-H process. (Earlier post.)
The latest project is the fourth between Technip and Diester Industrie.
The Esterfip process was developed by the French Institute of Petroleum (IFP) and commercialized by Axens. The current process, Esterfip-H (also developed by IFP), uses a heterogeneous catalyst (the “H”)—a spinel mixed oxide of two (non-noble) metals.
|Heterogeneous Esterfip-H process requires neither catalyst recovery nor aqueous treatment steps.|
The use of heterogeneous catalysts eliminates the need for catalyst recovery and washing steps—and associated waste streams—required by processes using homogeneous catalysts such as sodium hydroxide or sodium methylate.
The dual fixed-bed reactor Esterfip-H process is based on a solid catalyst, and continuous. It produces glycerol with extremely high purity of >98%, and a very high ester yield of close to 100%.
There is no waste production of low-value fatty acids, no water saline streams requiring disposal, and no consumption or handling of chemicals. It also features a lower catalyst requirements per ton of biodiesel produced than other processes.
The Esterfip-H process has been chosen recently for two other large biodiesel projects: the 165,000-tonnes/year (50 million gallons US) Beatrice Biodiesel plant in Nebraska; and the Perstorp Oxo 160,000-tonnes/year plant in Sweden.
IFP video on Esterflip-H