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Learn How Distilled Biodiesel Can Help Your Truckstop Business

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel

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/// Guest post by contributor Jon ScharingsonRenewable Energy Group

I have a New Year’s resolution for you: Educate yourself about distilled biodiesel. 

I feel confident that those of you who do will soon add distilled biodiesel to your fuel lineup — and 2018 will come with a new resolution of upping that amount.

My confidence comes from the benefits distilled biodiesel brings you and your customers, including superior cold weather performance, increased purity, lower carbon intensity and getting a high-quality end product from a variety of feedstocks. REG considers distillation the future of biodiesel. But right now, it’s still an unknown to many in the fuel industry. Learning more can give you a leg up on the competition.

What is distillation?
Distillation is the process of purifying a liquid using evaporation and condensation. Whether its fuel, alcohol or whiskey, the goal is to get certain molecules out of the product to purify it.

Biodiesel distillation involves creating conditions that turn fatty acid methyl esters, which are the molecules that make up biodiesel, from a liquid to a gas so that they can be removed. Then the product is converted back to a liquid in a more purified form.

How is that different from other purification methods?
The most common traditional method is known as cold filtration. To give an example, REG has a patented cold filtration process in which crude methyl esters are chilled to a certain temperature. A filter aid is added, and between that and the chilling process, minor components known to cause filter-plugging issues are removed. This is still a very good way to purify biodiesel — it’s just that distillation has some advantages.

What are the benefits of distillation?
There are four big ones:

  1. Distilled biodiesel has advanced cold flow properties because distillation does a superior job of removing minor components, such as steryl glucosides, that can contribute to filter plugging. Even with a higher cloud point, distilled biodiesel can outperform undistilled low cloud biodiesel in cold weather.
  2. Distilled biodiesel has a lower carbon intensity score than undistilled biodiesel made from vegetable oils, such as soy. That’s especially important in regions with air quality standards, like California and some Canadian provinces, as well as with the growing number of fleets that have sustainability goals.
  3. Distilled biodiesel is the purist type of biodiesel. This helps it blend more easily with petroleum diesel because there are fewer minor components to hinder blending.
  4. The minor components found in biodiesel depend in part on the feedstock, and because distillation does such a good job removing those, the producer has more freedom with feedstock. This feedstock flexibility can be a benefit when there are price and supply fluctuations in commodity markets.

Learn more about distillation in this free white paper. For more information about REG, visit regi.com

 /// Read more guest posts on biodiesel posts here

{Guest Post} Guest post provided by NATSO Chairman's Circle member Jon Scharingson, Renewable Energy Group. Renewable Energy Group, Inc. is a leading North American advanced biofuels producer and developer of renewable chemicals. REG utilizes a nationwide production, distribution and logistics system as part of an integrated value chain model to focus on converting natural fats, oils and greases into advanced biofuels and converting diverse feedstocks into renewable chemicals. Learn more about Renewable Energy Group.

The opinions and advice given by guest post contributors are not necessarily those of NATSO Inc. The posts should not be considered legal advice. Qualified professionals should be sought regarding advice and questions specific to your circumstances.

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About the Author

Jon Scharingson

Jon Scharingson