This is the first pilot plant of its kind in the United States and uses cutting edge technology developed by Piedmont Biofuels and Novozymes to create high quality biodiesel from low quality waste grease.
The enzymatic biodiesel pilot plant was developed in partnership with the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, and the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation. The pilot plant is expected to initially produce 12,600 gallons of biodiesel annually.
Biodiesel is a diesel fuel alternative made from fats and oils which can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. The current biodiesel production method forms soaps or salts in both the biodiesel and glycerin phases, producing low-grade co-products. Glycerin, a co-product resulting from the enzymatic process can be used to make a wide variety of products, including bioplastics and solvents.
"This new process of using enzymes to produce biodiesel will increase yields, decrease waste, and allows the producer to use lower cost feedstocks," said Greg Austic of Piedmont Biofuels. "This groundbreaking technology will create more valuable co-products, and will allow existing producers to increase their biodiesel output."
“We are glad to be partnering with our North Carolina neighbor Piedmont Biofuels to develop this promising enzymatic route to biodiesel. With continued research, we believe this technology could contribute to North Carolina and U.S. biofuels targets within a couple years,” said Hans Christian Holm, global marketing manager for Novozymes.
Representatives from both companies will join together at a ribbon cutting event on July 16 which will include speakers Steven Burke, president of the Biofuels Center of North Carolina and Per Munk Nielsen, senior science manager from Novozymes.