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Biodiesel Production Technology


August 2002–January 2004

J. Van Gerpen, B. Shanks, and R. Pruszko, D. Clements, G. Knothe

 National Renewable Energy Laboratory


Biodiesel Production Technology


1. Basics of Biodiesel Production

2. Basic Organic Chemistry

3. Biodiesel Specifications and Properties

 Biodiesel Production Processes

4. Types of Biodiesel Production

5. Basic Plant Equipment and Operation

6. Chemical Plant Controls

7. Pretreatment of High Free Fatty Acid Feedstocks

8. Patent Discussion

9. Patent List for Biodiesel

10. Post Reaction Processing

11. Treatment and Recovery of Side

 Biodiesel Plant Logistics

12. Feedstock Preparation

13. Feedstock Quality Issues

14. Plant Safety

15. Biodiesel Transportation and Storage

16. Product Quality


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• What is biomass?
• Chemical and physical properties
• Biomass and energy – thermal conversion to heat and electricity or syngas and hydrolysis/bioprocesses to liquid and gaseous fuels
• Biomass resources and production
• Biomass to electricity
• Biomass to biofuels and hydrogen
– Grain versus residual lignin-cellulosic feed stocks
– Gasification, hydrolysis, bioconversion processes
• Biorefineries employing modern biotechnology


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ERK5 – CT – 1999 – 0004



This is the final report of the STRAWGAS-project “Straw gasification for co-combustion in large CHP-plants”. The report covers process validation of the gasification and gas cleaning tests that were carried out in 2000 and the design study of a 100 MWth gasifier. Process validation and design study covers gasification of 100% straw and a fuel mix of straw and wood.

The project partners Foster Wheeler Energia Oy and ENERGI E2 A/S (former Elkraft Power Company) have executed the major part of the project with VTT Energy (Finland) and TK energi (Denmark) as valuable sub-suppliers. The project has received substantial economical support from the European Commission.

The experimental research consisted of 3 main tasks:

• The capability of the developed feeding system to feed loose straw into the gasifier
• The optimal process conditions and additives for gasifying loose straw
• The capability of the selected gas cleaning system to make the gas suitable for cocombustion
in large CHP-plants

In the design study a full-scale straw gasification plant of 100 MWth and the integration with an existing large CHP plant was investigated. The practical solutions of all unit operations
were developed. The budget for a complete plant was calculated and consequently the overall project economy was assessed. The result of the process validation and design
study can be the technical and economical basis for a decision to built a demonstration plant.

This project was carried out in the period from April 2000 to May 2001.



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Hydrogen from Biomass : State of the Art and Research Challenges


Thomas A. Milne, Carolyn C. Elam and Robert J. Evans
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Golden, CO USA



This report is a review largely of thermochemical research studies for the formation of hydrogen from whole biomass and stable intermediate products from biomass. The purpose of this report is to serve as a baseline of the state of the art and to identify research opportunities that can be conducted within a new Task of the International Energy Agencys (IEA) Programme on the Production and Utilization of Hydrogen. This new Task, Task 16  Hydrogen from Carbon Containing Materials, will begin work in early 2002. Subtask B addresses Biomass to Hydrogen. The Task Leader is Elisabet Fjermestad Hagen, Norsk Hydro ASA, N-0246, Oslo, Norway. Included in this report are references to the thermal gasification of biomass. These were reviewed in cooperation with the IEA Bioenergy Programme, specifically the Gasification Task – Suresh Babu, Task Leader.


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Dr. Joan M. Ogden

A report for the International Energy Agency
Agreement on the Production and Utilization of Hydrogen
Task 16, Hydrogen from Carbon-Containing Materials


This report to the International Energy Agency (IEA) reviews technical options for small-scale production of hydrogen via reforming of natural gas or liquid fuels. The focus is on small
stationary systems that produce pure hydrogen at refueling stations for hydrogen-fueled vehicles. Small reformer-based hydrogen production systems are commercially available from
several vendors. In addition, a variety of small-scale reformer technologies are currently being developed as components of fuel cell systems (for example, natural gas reformers coupled to phosphoric acid or proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PAFC or PEMFC) cogeneration systems, and onboard fuel processors for methanol and gasoline fuel cell vehicles). Although fuel cell reformers are typically designed to produce a reformate gas containing 40%-70% hydrogen, rather than pure hydrogen, in many cases they could be readily adapted to pure hydrogen production with the addition of purification stages.


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