Process-Intensified Low-Cost Biodiesel Production Using Meat Rendering Waste, Greases, and Food Wastes

EPA Contract Number: EPD08043
Title: Process-Intensified Low-Cost Biodiesel Production Using Meat Rendering Waste, Greases, and Food Wastes
Investigators: Elliott, Brian E
Small Business: TDA Research Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2008 through August 31, 2008
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Emission Reductions and Biofuels , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Biodesel is a fuel that is made from processing vegetable oil or animal fats into a liquid fuel that can be combusted in a standard diesel engine. Biodiesel is made from a renewable resource such as soybeans or tallow, does not contribute to global warming, and can be made from domestic resources. However, the growth of the biodiesel industry has been slowed because the current production processes require a highly refined (expensive) low free fatty acid (FFA) vegetable oil and prices are increasing due to supply limitations.

The proposed project will develop, test, and evaluate a new process for producing biodiesel from much less expensive high FFA vegetable oil and animal fat feedstocks. This process uses process intensification technology to minimize capital costs. The new process will promote increased use of biodiesel by reducing the cost of the fuel. Additionally, the new process will be more energy efficient and will not produce aqueous waste like conventional processes. The life cycle analysis indicates that, in addition to the environmental benefits of using the biodiesel fuel, the new production process has less impact on the environment than the existing biodiesel production process.

The anticipated results of the Phase I project are the performance data for the process and the engineering and economic feasibility study. Phase I will determine if the proposed process for biodiesel production using waste oils and fats is technically feasible. Then, the profitability of the overall process will be determined. Phase I will culminate with a detailed analysis that will be used to justify a Phase II effort.

The commercial application is a new chemical production process for producing low-cost biodiesel. The main innovation of the product is the ability to use much less expensive feedstock. The United States produced 250 million gallons of biodiesel in 2006, and industry experts estimate the total production could be 2 billion gallons per year by 2015. However, existing feedstock shortages are increasing soybean oil prices and alternative and less expensive feedstocks are needed to supplement the soybean oil that is currently used.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, biodiesel production, diesel engine, engine emission reduction, vehicle emission reduction, vegetable oil, animal fat, high free fatty acid vegetable oil, FFA, high free fatty acid animal fat, feedstock, life cycle analysis, energy efficient, aqueous waste, soybean oil,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, waste reduction, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, waste to fuel conversion, waste minimization, alternative fuel, biodiesel fuel, bio-based energy

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Process-intensified Low-Cost Biodiesel Production using Meat Rendering Waste, Greases, and Food Wastes