Technology KPS Partners and the Fiber Reactor™ offer innovative solutions for improving the performance and economics of conventional natural oil or biodiesel refineries. In a conventional refinery, crude oils are filtered and pretreated to remove water and other naturally occurring contaminants such as gums and free fatty acids. The process, in two separate liquid phases, requires mechanical dispersion with powerful mixers to combine the crude oil with chemical reactants and expensive centrifuges to subsequently separate the clean oil product out of the solution. The Fiber Reactor™, as a static process, maintains greater efficiencies, greater yields and throughput than existing commercial refining processes. It eliminates dispersions and combines degumming and neutralizing phases into a single continuous-flow process. Optional biodiesel conversion extends the continuous flow process in a single stage with no separation time. Proven applications include:
• Removing gums from vegetable oil (Degumming) • Removing Free Fatty Acids from vegetable oil and animal fats (Neutralizing) • Rapid biodiesel synthesis from multiple natural oils, including: Soybean Oil, Corn Oil, Canola Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Algae Oil, etc.
Fiber technology eliminates:
• Mixers (ultrasonic, cavitation, etc.) and mixing time • Centrifuges and separation time • Soapstock and lost oil
The micro-fiber reactor creates 60X greater reactive surface area than 100 micron dispersion typical of conventional processors, making it ultra-efficient by comparison. Separation of phases is simple and effective because they are never dispersed. At the end of the process, the refined biodiesel flows directly to storage tanks, while the other components of the mix are recycled and reused. The unit is also designed to operate at low temperature and low pressure making it safer and more energy efficient than traditional reactors. No mixing or separation provides:
• Greater throughput for improved productivity • Reduced size and complexity of refineries • Reduced capital expense • Reduced energy consumption • Reduced maintenance expense • Improved yield
For a fully integrated refinery, production costs using the Fiber Reactor™ process is 24 cents per gallon. This includes the cost of chemicals, utilities, maintenance and payroll. For a comparable conventional plant, the cost is 61 cents per gallon. With EPA Renewable Fuel Standards mandating ever greater fuel capacity, scalability of the technology becomes important to any producer considering upgrades to an existing facility or planning new refinery construction. A key benefit of the technology is the flexibility to scale to whatever capacity may be required for optimizing the plant configuration, dictated by site specifics, available feedstock and infrastructure. The Fiber Reactor™ process is based on proven technology in the global petrochemical market for almost 40 years. It is scalable from 10 thousand gallons per year, at lab scale, to 100 million gallons per year for large industrial production. It also proves economical and effective for community-based, distributed refining models where individual producers, agricultural and community coops may take advantage of micro-refineries for local or regional implementation. Proposed projects in support of community-scale applications include a 500 thousand gallon per year portable, self contained refinery installed on a standard 8’ x 40’ flatbed trailer or in a modified container depending on the application. The ability to transport the refinery provides even greater opportunity to reduce total costs by eliminating many transportation, storage and distribution costs of larger centralized facilities.
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