Optimization of Biodiesel Production with Supercritical Alcohols

Period of Performance: 01/01/2008 - 12/31/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Permafuels, Inc.
105 Sudbury Lane
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Principal Investigator


Biodiesel production using supercritical alcohols is fast, clean, and can treat lower-quality fats and oils than can the usual method of base catalysis. The supercritical method has not been considered practical because of the economic and safety issues associated with the high temperatures, high pressures, and amount of excess alcohol required. The proposed innovation overcomes these objections, making the supercritical process cost-competitive with base catalysis even for high-quality fuelstocks. The intended result is a patentable process that will be made available through license agreements. Since the supercritical method can also treat lower-quality fuelstocks such as waste vegetable oil and animal fats, the result of the innovation will be increased production of biodiesel at lower cost. The nation will benefit from increased supply of domestic, sustainable fuel resulting in rural job production, and reduced emissions of diesel pollutants and greenhouse gases,