Challenges in conventional enzymatic biodiesel production
Conventional biodiesel processes in this section refers to enzymatic processes that do not use a solvent.
1. Poisoning or deactivation of solid or liquid catalyst
One of the major causes of lipase deactivation or inefficiency of the process is adherence of glycerol droplets to the amphihilic catalysts. As it accumulates, it causes the activity to decrease and, eventually, the catalyst to deactivate. Lipase deactivation due to this phenomenon occurs regardless of whether the catalyst is liquid or solid. Due to its viscosity, accumulation of glycerol hinders the reaction as well.
2. Process is too slow
The enzyme limitations given above lead to a long reaction time. Aside from lengthy reaction periods, there are also challenges in biodiesel quality consistency and process reliability, which render the conventional approach non-cost-effective for commercial application.
ET Process®: Enzymatic Biodiesel/ Fatty Acid Alkyl Ester Technology
The ET Process® is a proprietary biodiesel technology developed by Sunho Biodiesel Corporation. Below are the key features and advantages of the process.
Read more about our enzymatic biodiesel technology.
|Simultaneous transesterification (oil) and esterification (FFA)|
|Low lipase consumption|
|Long lipase lifespan|
|Optimized use of Inert solvent|
|No washing and no wastewater|
|Safe to operate|
|Cost-effective, pure products|
|Natural plant extracts|
ET Process® vs. the chemical approach
The simultaneous conversion feature of the ET Process® distinguishes it from the chemical approach. It has the greatest impact on cost savings because feedstock contributes the most to expenses. Consider that typical oil feedstocks are composed mostly of oil with a small percentage of acid and the cost of separating 5% or 50% of acid from a feedstock is nearly the same. In a conventional chemical approach (alkaline), which can only convert natural oil, the additional separation step is required, but removing a small percentage of acid will entail the same cost burden without any significant profit. The ET Process® does away with this step entirely, leading to less feedstock loss and lower expenses.