Regarding commercial applications for biodiesel fuel, the Empire State reveals how biodiesel is made. In the state of New York an incredible business model has emerged for the collection, production, & distribution of biodiesel fuel. All activities are entirely contained within the boundaries of New York. That’s right, from waste oil collection to biodiesel distribution, everything is contained within New York. This successful business model consist of 3 co-laboring companies: Tri-State Biodiesel, Northern Biodiesel, & Hart Petroleum. Let’s look at a short breakdown of this business model. Then you can watch the great video demonstrating the entire New York process (provided by HeatingOil.com’s YouTube Channel).
Step 1: Acquisition
Located in the Bronx, Tri-State Biodiesel collects waste cooking oil from restaurants throughout New York City using their collection truck. Their Bronx headquarters is the location for their administrative offices, rendering facility, & truck depot. Within their facility, they utilize three 6,000 gallon storage tanks for storing the collected waste oil. As such, Tri-State Biodiesel’s facility is the place where all of the collected cooking oil is consolidated, cleaned up, and then shipped out for biodiesel manufacturing. Regarding collection, the collection truck uses a vacuum system to suck the used oil from a restaurant’s waste tank into the truck’s storage tank. The trucks collect waste oil all day long every day. At the end of the shift, the truck drivers return to the facility and connect the truck to Tri-State Biodiesel’s incoming waste oil filtration system. The filtration system removes bits of french fries, chicken bones, etc. that were mixed in with the used cooking oil. These organic contaminants are later used in fertilizer production. In short, Tri-State Biodiesel processes between 6,000 to 8,000 gallons of used cooking oil a day.
Step 2: Refining & Manufacturing
Once the used cooking oil is filtered, Tri-State Biodiesel transfers the oil into shipping trucks from Hart Trucking Company (a division of Hart Petroleum). Hart Trucking then delivers the filtered used oil to Northern Biodiesel’s manufacturing facility where it is transferred into holding tanks. Northern Biodiesel’s inspectors then perform incoming chemical inspection tests to insure raw feedstock quality. They test for water content & free fatty acid content in the oil. As oil is used over and over during deep frying, some oil molecules will breakdown and form free fatty acids. Free fatty acids will form soap during the biodiesel manufacturing process. In other words, you want to eliminate the impact of free fatty acids on the biodiesel production process. Northern Biodiesel’s chemical process involves mixing methanol with sodium hydroxide (the catalyst) and the waste cooking oil in their main reactor. The oil and the alcohol undergo a chemical reaction in the presence of the catalyst. This process produces methyl ester (biodiesel) and glycerine (by-product). Typically, one unit of volume of used oil will yield 90% by volume biodiesel and 10% by volume glycerine. This is what I love about biodiesel production, there is no waste! To insure a complete & efficient conversion process, Northern Biodiesel then takes the biodiesel mix, free of the initial glycerine by-product, and processes in a smaller secondary reactor vessel using another 10% of the methanol+catalyst mix in order to force completion of the biodiesel reaction process. Next the biodiesel enters their quality process where the biodiesel is washed in order to remove any trace impurities, metals, etc from the fuel. Finally, the biodiesel enters a distillation process which removes any free water and alcohol that has carried over with the biodiesel fuel. These efforts yield a pure, spec quality biodiesel product. Northern Biodiesel then fills either rail tanker cars or semi tanker trucks with the biodiesel for distribution. As John Vavolo enthusiastically states, they wanted to make a New York Connection for biodiesel. All the feedstock is from New York. All the biodiesel is made in New York. And all of this biodiesel is consumed in New York. This sustainable localized focus yields a home grown New York product. I love it!
Step 3: Retail Sales & Distribution
Hart Petroleum is the New York component for biodiesel retail sales and distribution. They co-labor with Tri-State Biodiesel, Northern Biodiesel, and Ultra Green Energy Services. As Ray Hart tells it, they wear 3 different hats. Their Hart Trucking Corp division provides bulk transportation services for the rendered waste cooking oil. Hart Trucking delivers the waste oil to the New Hyde Park Oil Terminal. New Hyde Park Oil Terminal is the “2nd Hat” of Hart Petroleum. They off load the used oil from the trucks and pump it into rail cars. The rail cars deliver the waste cooking oil to Northern Biodiesel from biodiesel manufacturing. The final biodiesel product is then delivered back New Hyde Park Oil Terminal. The “3rd Hat” now comes into play. Hart Petroleum transfers the biodiesel into a separate temperature controlled storage tank. Hart Petroleum sells the biodiesel as a blend. Although 100% pure biodiesel can be used in an oil furnace, Hart Petroleum must take into account the wide variety and ages of heating oil furnaces in the state of New York. Some furnaces can have rubber seals or older plastic components that will react with pure biodiesel. Rather than require end consumers to convert their heating oil systems and to prevent furnace failures, Hart Petroleum blends the biodiesel with either petroleum diesel or heating oil. Hart Petroleum uses a computerized accurate-load system to create the blends. All the Hart Petroleum delivery driver needs to do is connect his delivery truck to the system and punch in the final desired blend. The system then automatically blends the fuels and pumps the final blend into the delivery truck. The main retail product is B20, 20% biodiesel blended with 80% heating oil. Finally, the driver travels on his daily route delivering heating oil throughout the state. The final result, happy customers are using sustainable biodiesel blends to heat their homes with zero furnace failures. In addition, the entire biodiesel process provides viable good paying jobs for New Yorkers. Better still, New York’s sewer systems and land fills are not polluted with waste cooking oil. Everybody wins! For more on biodiesel production visit How Biodiesel is Made: Part 1.
Video: The Empire State Reveals How Biodiesel is Made
Watch the short video below, courtesy of HeatingOil.com’s YouTube Channel. In this great video, the Empire State Reveals How Biodiesel is Made.
For Further Information
Please visit the following links to obtain more information on the New York Biodiesel Business Model: