Triangle Biofuels president Zack Hamm discusses his Wilson-based biodiesel facility and the importance of locally produced fuels to rural economies with Biofuels Center communications manager Shane Reese.

Listen to the Podcast Here:  

The original article can be found on the NC Biofuels Center article here:

March 28, 2013
11 Reasons Why You Should Invest in the Biodiesel Industry

GRAND FORKS, ND – (Mar. 28, 2013) – Below is breakdown of the latest, sourced information as to why investment in biodiesel is a sound decision written by Ron Kotrba, Editor of Biodiesel Magazine.

  1. Jump in on a growing market: The U.S. biodiesel industry is poised for its most profitable, successful year yet in 2013 with expected record-breaking production volumes thanks in part to the increased federal biomass-based diesel requirement of 1.28 billion gallons (28 percent higher than 2012), the $1 per gallon tax credit and rebounding D4 RIN prices. In addition, favorable blend economics indicate that obligated parties under the renewable fuel standard (RFS2) will find it economically advantageous* to blend U.S. biodiesel over Brazilian sugarcane ethanol to meet their advanced biofuel obligations (2.75 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons), over and above the biomass-based diesel volume requirements, suggesting the possibility of domestic biodiesel production significantly exceeding 1.28 billion gallons. *farmdoc daily
  2. Sustainable 10-year growth plan: IHS Global Insight conducted a modeling report for the National Biodiesel Board to help guide EPA with its yearly biodiesel RVO under RFS2 and, in the modeling report, the group determined that there will be enough feedstock available to reach 3.3 billion gallons of U.S. biodiesel production by 2022. Read article
  3. The National Biodiesel Board unveiled a new industry target in February 2013, named 10×22, an aggressive but achievable goal that calls for biodiesel to make up 10 percent of the U.S. diesel fuel supply by 2022. Read article
  4. Engine makers support biodiesel, why not you? All major OEMs producing diesel vehicles for the U.S. market support at least B5 and lower blends and 79 percent of U.S. manufacturers now support B20 or higher biodiesel blends in at least some of their equipment.
    Source: NBB OEM support document, Sept. 2012
  5. No blend wall here: While the ethanol industry struggles with hitting its blend wall, biodiesel penetration in the 2012 U.S. diesel fuel supply was only 1.9 percent. Given that all major OEMs support B5, achieving a 5 percent biodiesel penetration rate would mean nearly 3 billion gallons of biodiesel production (almost three times greater than 2012 production volumes). Moreover, nearly all the biodiesel used in the U.S. today is consumed by heavy-duty applications, a growing number of which support B20. To reach 20 percent penetration, the U.S. would need to produce 11.5 billion gallons of biodiesel, 10 times more than produced last year. Read article
  6. Global ethanol and biodiesel consumption combined will reach 135 billion gallons by 2018.
    Source: Global Industry Analysts Inc.
  7. Biodiesel quality continues to improve: The latest NREL quality survey results announced February 2013 at the National Biodiesel Conference show a record 97 percent of the biodiesel on the market today is within ASTM D6751 specifications. Read article
  8. 68 percent of U.S. and Canadian biodiesel productive capacity is BQ-9000-certified, meaning strict quality controls are in place—of the approximately 3 billion gallons of productive capacity in the U.S. and Canada, 1.84 billion gallons is BQ-9000-certified versus 1.24 billion gallons that is not.
    Source: 2013 Biodiesel Plant Map and the BQ-9000 site of certified producers.
  9. Greenhouse gas emissions will continue to tighten globally, and EPA has determined that biodiesel from waste achieves more than 80 percent GHG reduction compared to the fossil diesel baseline, while biodiesel made from soybean oil achieves greater than 50 percent GHG reductions.
    Source: EPA
  10. Assurance in the market: Obligated parties, third-party quality assurance plan (QAP) providers, the biodiesel industry and government have worked together to restructure the RIN program to provide more security against potential fraud. A proposed QAP rule was issued in January and a final rule is expected midyear. The proposal offers obligated parties an affirmative defense against civil liabilities from buying, trading or retiring bad RINs, and includes one option that also relieves obligated parties from paying for the replacement of any invalid RINs.
    Source: U.S. EPA
  11. Supporting biodiesel supports economic growth: The biodiesel industry spent an estimated $4.3 billion to produce 1 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2012, without the $1 per gallon federal tax credit in place all year. The biodiesel industry supported approximately 64,000 jobs in 2012, once again without the $1 per gallon tax credit. With the credit, it would have supported another 19,200, totaling more than 83,000 jobs.
    Source: NBB Fueling Action View document

About Biodiesel Magazine:
Biodiesel Magazine is a bi-monthly trade journal dedicated to objective, independent coverage of biodiesel news, events and information relevant to the global industry. With editorial focus on U.S. and international methyl ester manufacturing, trade, distribution and markets, Biodiesel Magazine also provides valuable insight into feedstock and market share competition from the non-ester renewable diesel sector. Biodiesel Magazine is owned by BBI International.

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John Nelson
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noun.  An outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.


Or in Triangle Biofuels Industries terms, it means the refusal of a DOE grant application for a new boiler at TBI because some pencil pusher at the Department of Energy couldn’t get past one part of the grant requirements that said “improve efficiency”.  We met every other requirement (increasing renewable fuel, renewable energy distribution, employment additions in a distressed county, etc), BUT we didn’t meet the improving efficiency checkbox because I stated that I intended to install a newer, bigger boiler to replace our existing one in order to facilitate the additional heat energy needed to increase biodiesel production capacity.

So, using our own funds, we removed our old 800,000 BTU boiler and installed a 1.9 million BTU boiler, still fueled by biodiesel, and yet our fuel consumption rate has stayed almost identical at about 300 gallons per week.

How is this possible?  Several reasons, but increased efficiency is the main reason.  See, the old boiler was a single pass “water tube” type, meaning the fire goes up the stack by first passing around tubes filled with water being pumped inside to heat the water.  The new boiler is a triple pass “fire tube” type.  Here the water surrounds the fire tubes and gets three chances to absorb the fire heat, which is significantly more efficient.  The kind of efficiency that is measurable even by a lay person (or even a DOE grant supervisor). 

The first measurement?   Our stack temperature went from over 700°F to less than 300°F.  That means more of the heat is going into the water where we need it, instead of up the chimney and outside.

The next measurement?  Our CO and O2 levels dropped dramatically as well, from over 200 ppm CO down to 32 ppm.  And from 12% O2 down to 5%.  This also means we are burning more efficiently…  91% efficient, to be precise.

Given that we are burning biodiesel, our emissions are minimal and there’s really no smoke that comes out, and no sulfur or particulate matter, so our emissions aren’t really that much cleaner from that perspective.  They were already pretty clean.  However, the improved burn efficiency has to help. 

Lastly, the old boiler was simply undersized.  Our previous boiler was running almost 20 hours a day in order to keep up with the demand, and frankly, we could overload it pretty easily and it just couldn’t keep up with the heat requirements we had.  The new boiler gets the entire loop up to temperature from a cold start in less than 30 minutes, and actually cuts off when it gets to working temperature (thus why we are saving fuel).

So was installing a new boiler in our plant more efficient?  Yep, in just about every way we can possibly measure.  More heat for our process, more consistent heat, working in a more efficient load cycle, and burning fuel more efficiently.  We also gain the benefit of internal space heating by the boiler.

The cost?  Well, as always, we buy used when we can.  The cost was almost a wash for selling my old boiler, which sold within two days of removing it.  The ROI would have been met in increased production within a six months anyway, but we got it back in 2 days.  That’s what I call efficient.

Firetube Boiler

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