A Novel Acoustic Biodiesel Production Process From Animal Fats and Waste Grease

EPA Contract Number: EPD04023
Title: A Novel Acoustic Biodiesel Production Process From Animal Fats and Waste Grease
Investigators: Yang, Fangxiao
Small Business: Resodyn Corporation
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2004 through August 31, 2004
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Biology/Life Sciences , SBIR - Animal Waste and Waste to Energy , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The goal of this Phase I research project is to demonstrate the feasibility of an innovative Acoustic Biodiesel Synthesis Reactor (ABSR) with a biodiesel production cost of less than $0.30 per gallon over the cost of feedstock. The target feedstocks are brown, yellow, tallow, restaurant recycled, and trapped grease with high free fatty acid (FFA). The final target biodiesel costs will total $1.00 per gallon for those animal fats and waste grease as raw materials. The proposed ABSR technology will: (1) enable one-step conversion of both FFA and triglycerides to fatty acid methyl ester (biodiesel); (2) eliminate the need for solvents or catalysts, which will avoid production of wastes and greatly simplify separations and purification; (3) enable the use of the low-cost agricultural byproducts, such as animal fats and spent grease that contains high FFA, as opposed to soya oil, which is preferred in conventional biodiesel processes; (4) enhance reaction rate and reduce reaction resident time; and (5) simplify the overall process and allow for significant capital and operational costs.

Currently, the United States produces 20 billion pounds of plant oils and 11 billion pounds of animal fat and recycled grease annually. Animal fat represents a potential biodiesel output of 1.5 billion gallons compared to the estimated current production of 230 million gallons. A truly competitive technology that can cost-effectively convert fats to biodiesel will enable Resodyn Corporation to capture a substantial portion of this untapped market. Concerns related to feeding animal byproducts (already banned in Europe) will increase the incentive to convert fats to biodiesel and further strengthen the market potential of the technology.

Resodyn has discussed the proposed ABSR with Kenosha Beef International, which has been funding biodiesel process development (conventional) by Resodyn at Resodyn's facilities. Kenosha Beef is one of the top 10 U.S. beef companies, with an annual production of 400 million pounds of beef. Kenosha has entered into a joint venture (JV) called BIOsource Fuels, LLC, with Resodyn exploiting the ABSR technology at its rendering facilities, should it prove successful. The JV has supported the development of a pilot plant (2 to 10 gallon per hour processing rate) to evaluate conventional and advanced biodiesel technologies. Demonstrating successful and economic production of biodiesel using the pilot plant will provide a solid platform to the JV, which will be used to market the technology throughout the rendering industry, as well as to the vegetable oil industry.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, acoustic biodiesel production process, animal fats, waste grease, Acoustic Biodiesel Synthesis Reactor, ABSR, free fatty acid, FFA, soya oil, plant oils, recycled grease, animal byproducts, joint venture, JV, EPA., Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Chemistry, New/Innovative technologies, waste reduction, waste grease, animal fat, Acoustic Biodiesel Synthesis Reactor, solvent substitute, vegetable oil

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report