Simple way to make Biodiesel

Richard Parnas and four others have invented a simple method for the production of bio-diesel. Their work resulted in the grant of United States Patent 7,544,830 entitled “Methods and systems for alkyl ester production.” The process for producing the bio diesel is simple in that it is based on the straightforward concept that an independent stage for the separation of biodiesel from the liquid glycerol side product is not needed when the biodiesel moves at a rate that is slow enough for the glycerol to separate from the biodiesel.

The work of Parnas and his associates helped characterize the properties associated with biodiesel as it separates from glycerol. (See figure below)

Parnas simplified biodiesel production graph

Parnas simplified biodiesel production graph

The design of the biodiesel reactor or biodiesel reactors as shown in figure below is uncomplicated. (click to enlarge image) Alcohol and biomass are mixed in a reactor having a geometry sufficient to permit glycerol to settle out.  The biodiesel creating reaction occurs in the vessel at the same time that the reaction products are being separated into a light fraction and a heavy fraction. The valuable light fraction (biodiesel) is ultimately washed and dried to produce a clean biofuel.

Parnas simplified biodiesel production process

Parnas simplified biodiesel production process

As has been separately reported by EcoSeed and CleanTechnia the Department of Energy has provided a $1.8 million grant to further develop this technology.  The invention was assigned to the The University of Connecticut.