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Published on August 21st, 2008 | by Nick Chambers

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American Ingenuity Leads to Biodiesel Breakthrough

August 21st, 2008 by  
 

A small group of unassuming mid-westerners has discovered what could be a complete game-changer for the global biodiesel industry. Their new system makes biodiesel in mere seconds, creates a product that costs half the price, produces no waste, and can use any animal fat or vegetable oil as a feedstock.

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Even though I’m sometimes down on my country because of the pathetic state of our government, the thing that always makes my patriotism swell is the truly amazing and unexpected ingenuity that seems to spring forth from the American people.

And in this tale, American ingenuity doesn’t get much more classic. A student and his professor at a small college smack dab in the middle of the heartland that virtually nobody’s ever heard of, have figured out a way to make biodiesel quickly, cheaply, and efficiently from a very small package.

We’re not just talking an incremental improvement, we’re talking half the price and a tiny fraction of the time — a revolutionary change for the biodiesel industry. Think on the order of saving $2 for every gallon and going from raw materials to biodiesel in a few seconds versus many hours.

Not only that, the process can convert any animal fat or vegetable oil, mixed in any ratio, into biodiesel using the same compact reactor in a continuous stream. Compare this to the current method which converts the oil or fat to biodiesel over many hours in huge vat batches and creates a lot of potentially hazardous waste products.

The Mcgyan® process (so named for the inventors McNeff, Gyberg and Yan) started as a required undergraduate chemistry project for student Brian Krohn at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN. Krohn and his major professor, Arlin Gyberg, were looking at ways to catalyze the raw materials into biodiesel using a process called esterification.

The basic idea was to run the raw fats and oils over a sulfated zirconia catalyst to change them into biodiesel. This idea isn’t new, but the duo thought they could improve on it. In the end, the pair enlisted the help of another scientist Ben Yan and an Augsburg alum Clayton McNeff.

McNeff already owned a company that made zirconia separating columns which are typically used for something completely different. With a little modification, these columns were turned into sulfated zirconia biodiesel reactors.

Basically, the process works like this:

  • Raw fats and oils of any type are combined with an alcohol
  • This mixture is fed through a sulfated zirconia column heated to 300 degrees Celsius
  • Their Easy Fatty Acid Removal (EFAR) system recycles any unreacted raw material back through the reactor
  • Excess alcohol is recycled back through the reactor
  • Pure biodiesel comes out the end

The advantages of the system are:

  • No waste produced; No washing or neutralizing of the biodiesel is necessary
  • 100% conversion of raw materials to biodiesel
  • Any raw fat or oil can be used to make biodiesel
  • Very efficient due to heat recapture from the column
  • Sulfated zirconia catalyst never needs replacing
  • Very small footprint of the reactor system, uses an extremely small amount of area for the amount of biodiesel produced
  • Essentially no emissions and no waste stream from the process; Easy permitting from the government

The group has formed a company called Ever Cat Fuels and is in the process of building a 3 million gallon per year (MMgy) commercial biodiesel facility with the intention of scaling it up to 30 MMgy in the next 3-5 years. As soon as the Ever Cat plant is producing biodiesel successfully, the group plans on licensing the technology to other interested parties.

Bada-bing, bada-bang. Anybody have start-up capital to help me license their tech (I’m only part-way kidding)?

Posts Related to Biodiesel and Manufacturing Biodiesel:

Source: Biodiesel Magazine

Image Credit: Ever Cat Fuels


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About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.



  • da

    If one day you want to become a serious journalist do not start your documents with stupid rhetoric like “I’ll tell you what — even though I’m sometimes down on my country because of the pathetic state of our government…”

  • da

    If one day you want to become a serious journalist do not start your documents with stupid rhetoric like “I’ll tell you what — even though I’m sometimes down on my country because of the pathetic state of our government…”

  • Nick Chambers

    @ da,

    I suppose you’re an expert on “serious” journalism? In your view, what makes it “stupid rhetoric”… could it be the fact that it’s what the vast majority of people in this country truly feel right now?

    I actually hope I get an answer from you, but, like so many of the commenters that come through here and leave nasty remarks, I’m afraid that I’ll probably never hear from you again.

    This is called blogging, it’s not “journalism” in the traditional sense. In fact, most bloggers I know are happy to never be considered in the same league as the Main Stream Media.

    Blogging is part opinion and part reporting and unlike “serious journalists” I actually support the information in my reports with links to citations.

  • Dan

    You mention in the article that any seperated Fats are returned back through the process. “Their Easy Fatty Acid Removal (EFAR) system recycles any unreacted raw material back through the reactor”…Anyway, when the unreated raw materials retrun REactor, do they indeed get broken down more and then sent onto the EFAR, or do they just get compounded with the Fat that is coming through? I would think if it does not get broken down anymore, the Fat componenet just builds and builds. Just curious

  • Dan

    You mention in the article that any seperated Fats are returned back through the process. “Their Easy Fatty Acid Removal (EFAR) system recycles any unreacted raw material back through the reactor”…Anyway, when the unreated raw materials retrun REactor, do they indeed get broken down more and then sent onto the EFAR, or do they just get compounded with the Fat that is coming through? I would think if it does not get broken down anymore, the Fat componenet just builds and builds. Just curious

  • Nick Chambers

    @ Dan

    I really don’t know how the EFAR system works exactly. I think they use a fractionating still to extract the excess reaction products and alcohol.

    On the Ever Cat website there’s a number to contact them for more specific information on their process.

  • David

    Nick – I just wanted to say I love your website, I’ve checked it everyday since I discovered it 2 weeks ago!

    So would this new system be able to create biodesiel out of any plant, such as algae or corn? Could it be used for cellulosic ethanol? Or is biodesiel and cellulosic ethanol two completely different things?

  • David

    Nick – I just wanted to say I love your website, I’ve checked it everyday since I discovered it 2 weeks ago!

    So would this new system be able to create biodesiel out of any plant, such as algae or corn? Could it be used for cellulosic ethanol? Or is biodesiel and cellulosic ethanol two completely different things?

  • Nick Chambers

    David,

    Thanks for your compliment! Glad to have you as a new reader.

    According to the inventors, this system could make biodiesel from any vegetable oil or animal fat — which includes oil produced from algae. Corn is not a good oil source so would not be suitable for making biodiesel from.

    Biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol are two completely different things. They are both biofuels, but that’s where the similarities end. Ethanol is much more like gasoline than diesel.

  • chemical engineer

    @david- If the process is tuned for fats/oils, it likely will not also accept cellulose as a feedstock. Check the chemical structure of these substances via Wikipedia for more info.

  • chemical engineer

    @david- If the process is tuned for fats/oils, it likely will not also accept cellulose as a feedstock. Check the chemical structure of these substances via Wikipedia for more info.

  • DUMB AMERICAN

    >the thing that always makes my patriotism swell is the truly amazing and unexpected ingenuity that seems to spring forth from the American people.

    TAKE THAT EUROPE, RIGHT IN YOUR STUPID FACE!!!!1!!1!!11

  • DUMB AMERICAN

    >the thing that always makes my patriotism swell is the truly amazing and unexpected ingenuity that seems to spring forth from the American people.

    TAKE THAT EUROPE, RIGHT IN YOUR STUPID FACE!!!!1!!1!!11

  • Anonymous

    Nick,

    your enthusiasm not withstanding, I don’t believe that your argument for this being a great day for America gets boosted much by the fact that this discovery was widely published in March of this year. And while I don’t purport to be an authority on “serious journalism”, I would have to agree with the first comment both for reasons of style (“I’ll tell you what”) and logic (you never support your assertion of this discovery being “classic” American ingenuity).

    That said, I am glad I found your blog about this because I do think it is an important step forward toward a more sustainable future. And, for what it is worth, I totally agree with you on the state of the US government!

    PS: It’s *Arlin* Gyberg?

  • Anonymous

    Nick,

    your enthusiasm not withstanding, I don’t believe that your argument for this being a great day for America gets boosted much by the fact that this discovery was widely published in March of this year. And while I don’t purport to be an authority on “serious journalism”, I would have to agree with the first comment both for reasons of style (“I’ll tell you what”) and logic (you never support your assertion of this discovery being “classic” American ingenuity).

    That said, I am glad I found your blog about this because I do think it is an important step forward toward a more sustainable future. And, for what it is worth, I totally agree with you on the state of the US government!

    PS: It’s *Arlin* Gyberg?

  • Nick Chambers

    Anonymous,

    Thanks, I think?

    Just some counterpoints:

    I never said it was a “great day” for America and I never insinuated that this happened “today.” I think it’s pretty clear I’ve known this has been announced for a while.

    Although its been announced for a while, I think the amount of response my post has generated speaks for itself about how “widely published” its been. The reason I decided to cover it here was that the only people who seemed to know about till now were scientists and industry insiders.

    “I’ll tell you what” is a colloquialism… you know like something that a character from “King of the Hill” would say when starting a conversation. It’s common slang. I’m sure that it can be easily interpreted as me being a pretentious asshole, but it’s all in how you read it I guess.

    How is it not classic American ingenuity? It seemed pretty classic to me. I guess I assumed that readers could agree or or not without me wasting time explaining what my definition of “classic” is and how it represents American ingenuity. For the record, I think that some normal dudes in Minnesota taking an already existing off-the-shelf apparatus and co-opting it for something this extraordinary without vast supplies of money and time is pretty classically representative of the ingenuity of Americans.

    PS. I fixed Arlin’s name. Thanks for that.

  • Billy-Joe Cletus

    AMERICA! FUCK YEAH!

  • Billy-Joe Cletus

    AMERICA! FUCK YEAH!

  • Wow! This sounds incredibly great. I wonder if this technology can be down scaled to work for back yard processors? Or if it’s just for big commercial operations. Already in my area almost every restaurant has it’s waste oil collected by small scale collectives. This could potentially make it so much easier to make at home.

    Combined with recent algae oil developments I feel downright hopeful!

    By the way, I love your blog. Thanks for making it.

  • Wow! This sounds incredibly great. I wonder if this technology can be down scaled to work for back yard processors? Or if it’s just for big commercial operations. Already in my area almost every restaurant has it’s waste oil collected by small scale collectives. This could potentially make it so much easier to make at home.

    Combined with recent algae oil developments I feel downright hopeful!

    By the way, I love your blog. Thanks for making it.

  • Chris

    Nick! I love the articles! Ignore the nasty comments, i blog occasionally and i get flooded by them too. Overlook them because readers like me appreciate the cool articles you’ve got.

    And this one is particularly fascinating.

    It just goes to show that the rest of the world is reducing their consumption while the americans are figuring out ways around the problem, i love that attitude, and i’m an aussie.

  • Chris

    Nick! I love the articles! Ignore the nasty comments, i blog occasionally and i get flooded by them too. Overlook them because readers like me appreciate the cool articles you’ve got.

    And this one is particularly fascinating.

    It just goes to show that the rest of the world is reducing their consumption while the americans are figuring out ways around the problem, i love that attitude, and i’m an aussie.

  • Dr. O

    Hi Nick,

    What about the glycerol produced in the transesterification step?

    Great website, by the way.

  • Dr. O

    Hi Nick,

    What about the glycerol produced in the transesterification step?

    Great website, by the way.

  • Nick, you really find some cool stuff. I visit your sight every day now. Just a joint comment on the bio and jet fuel articles.

    I think that the answer to our problems is going to come from the private sector as the bio fuel brekthrough illustrates.

    This is some serious stuff. Our dependance on oil is effecting our national security. Its time for people to get in the game and insist on using these alternative fuels whenever possible. All the high tech electronics aren’t worth crap, if you can’t get your fighters in the sky.

  • Nick, you really find some cool stuff. I visit your sight every day now. Just a joint comment on the bio and jet fuel articles.

    I think that the answer to our problems is going to come from the private sector as the bio fuel brekthrough illustrates.

    This is some serious stuff. Our dependance on oil is effecting our national security. Its time for people to get in the game and insist on using these alternative fuels whenever possible. All the high tech electronics aren’t worth crap, if you can’t get your fighters in the sky.

  • An Ony Mous

    Nick

    This is not such a great day, I am afraid. This process merely diverts organics to fuel and away from food production. The only thing that leads to a “great day” in America is whatever reduces our consumption of diesel fuel in the first place. Making more diesel fuel, from organic feedstocks that can be directed to food production, is a terrible idea. We need to get rid of diesel engines entirely, along with all other IC engines.

  • An Ony Mous

    Nick

    This is not such a great day, I am afraid. This process merely diverts organics to fuel and away from food production. The only thing that leads to a “great day” in America is whatever reduces our consumption of diesel fuel in the first place. Making more diesel fuel, from organic feedstocks that can be directed to food production, is a terrible idea. We need to get rid of diesel engines entirely, along with all other IC engines.

  • Dan, if he doesn’t get in at least one shot against the USA before praising it, he’ll lose all street cred with all his hippy readers.

    Nevertheless, cool little discovery. Seems like there’s been a lot of great advances in biofuel technology recently. I hope it is all building to something. I still think oil and coal is pretty great, but it never hurts to have a good BATNA with OPEC.

  • Dan, if he doesn’t get in at least one shot against the USA before praising it, he’ll lose all street cred with all his hippy readers.

    Nevertheless, cool little discovery. Seems like there’s been a lot of great advances in biofuel technology recently. I hope it is all building to something. I still think oil and coal is pretty great, but it never hurts to have a good BATNA with OPEC.

  • Nick Chambers

    mgroves,

    Why is it that people can’t have mixed feelings about their country without having someone try and debase them, make them feel like they’re being unpatriotic, and shoehorn them into the category of “hippies”?

    (BTW, your use of the term “hippies” belies your age — insert valley accent here — it’s, like, almost 2010, hippies don’t exist anymore. Sorry to be such a downer.)

    Do you really love absolutely everything about this country? Is there nothing you’d like to fix? I find that hard to believe. And if you don’t love everything about this country, but you pretend to, then you’re part of the problem.

  • Jin McDish

    Wow, the Americans come up with a breakthrough? No way, surely it was stolen from a german.

    RD

    http://www.decrypt.net.tc

  • Jin McDish

    Wow, the Americans come up with a breakthrough? No way, surely it was stolen from a german.

    RD

    http://www.decrypt.net.tc

  • jon

    Hey…hippies still exist! The Bush administration hasn’t cut down all the trees yet (they sure are trying though). In fact, next time you are in a national forest and you see a bunch of old school buses with rainbows painted on them, ask them if the bus is converted to biodiesel. It likely is. It’s pretty easy to find a restaurant willing to let a bus full of hippies take their old fryer grease. There is a ton of practical biodiesel conversion information being passed by word of mouth in this country.

    The PDF you linked looks interesting, but I couldn’t find any more in depth info on their site. I wonder if this process is doable on a small scale though. 300c might be doable with a serious pressure cooker, and a still is easy, but what about this catalyst? I don’t think Amazon sells it 🙂

  • jon

    Hey…hippies still exist! The Bush administration hasn’t cut down all the trees yet (they sure are trying though). In fact, next time you are in a national forest and you see a bunch of old school buses with rainbows painted on them, ask them if the bus is converted to biodiesel. It likely is. It’s pretty easy to find a restaurant willing to let a bus full of hippies take their old fryer grease. There is a ton of practical biodiesel conversion information being passed by word of mouth in this country.

    The PDF you linked looks interesting, but I couldn’t find any more in depth info on their site. I wonder if this process is doable on a small scale though. 300c might be doable with a serious pressure cooker, and a still is easy, but what about this catalyst? I don’t think Amazon sells it 🙂

  • E

    NC you flippin rock!

  • E

    NC you flippin rock!

  • Nick Chambers

    E,

    Wow! Thanks! I do believe that’s the nicest comment I’ve ever gotten.

  • Mark

    This smells like an investment scam. And your writing style smells like you are in on the deal, or at least buddies with the scammers.

  • Mark

    This smells like an investment scam. And your writing style smells like you are in on the deal, or at least buddies with the scammers.

  • Nick Chambers

    Mark,

    Doh! You got me. Not. Whenever I write an article about cool new things like this I invariably get this comment. Just look at the history of what I’ve written on Gas 2. There was a pretty cool engine development that I shed light on a while back and got the same comment. I’m just truly happy to spread the information around.

  • jangothor

    I’ll tell you what. Do your detractors know what an ad hominem argument is? Articles’ points get lost in comments far more than they inculcate progress of ideas. That’s an opinion gentlemen!

  • jangothor

    I’ll tell you what. Do your detractors know what an ad hominem argument is? Articles’ points get lost in comments far more than they inculcate progress of ideas. That’s an opinion gentlemen!

  • Brock Lesnar

    Americans suck.

  • Brock Lesnar

    Americans suck.

  • Alex

    Interesting article in that it sounds too good to be true. It is just TOO efficient.

    How will the government tax it?

    I agree with you that the politicos in Washington have messed up the country so badly as to be ashamed of the whole lot, especially the Pollyannish pres who thinks the US is doing right well, thank you very much. It is wonderful to find efficient chemical processes that make the inefficiency and wanton waste of Washington look like a temporal error soon to be effaced.

  • Alex

    Interesting article in that it sounds too good to be true. It is just TOO efficient.

    How will the government tax it?

    I agree with you that the politicos in Washington have messed up the country so badly as to be ashamed of the whole lot, especially the Pollyannish pres who thinks the US is doing right well, thank you very much. It is wonderful to find efficient chemical processes that make the inefficiency and wanton waste of Washington look like a temporal error soon to be effaced.

  • R

    Minnesota isn’t actually in the middle of the heartland. More like well-North of it.

  • R

    Minnesota isn’t actually in the middle of the heartland. More like well-North of it.

  • Antoine Durr

    This sounds really cool. However, even at 30MMgy, that’s about what it takes to feed Los Angeles cars for a single day. Where do the 50MMgy come from to feed this reactor? If you add up all the deep fryers of all the fast food joints in the US, that in itself probably won’t top 20MMgy.

  • Antoine Durr

    This sounds really cool. However, even at 30MMgy, that’s about what it takes to feed Los Angeles cars for a single day. Where do the 50MMgy come from to feed this reactor? If you add up all the deep fryers of all the fast food joints in the US, that in itself probably won’t top 20MMgy.

  • Sceptic

    While this is great news, how long until “The Great U.S. Government” shuts them down? It is not in the American governments best interest to support anything other than big oil.

    I hope your people do something about that soon so that you can be proud of your government as well as the other people in your country.

  • Sceptic

    While this is great news, how long until “The Great U.S. Government” shuts them down? It is not in the American governments best interest to support anything other than big oil.

    I hope your people do something about that soon so that you can be proud of your government as well as the other people in your country.

  • Ian

    This sounds great and all, but 300 degrees Celsius is DAMN hot, and takes a lot of energy (emissions) to produce. Also where does the glycerine go? If biodiesel is coming out the other end the glycerol molecules can’t be included, so where’d they go? It’s a very exciting time for the biodiesel industry, and I hope this group does well, but I don’t this is a silver bullet nor is one coming anytime soon. We ALL need to use less of whatever fuel/electricity we’re using even if it’s biodiesel.

  • Ian

    This sounds great and all, but 300 degrees Celsius is DAMN hot, and takes a lot of energy (emissions) to produce. Also where does the glycerine go? If biodiesel is coming out the other end the glycerol molecules can’t be included, so where’d they go? It’s a very exciting time for the biodiesel industry, and I hope this group does well, but I don’t this is a silver bullet nor is one coming anytime soon. We ALL need to use less of whatever fuel/electricity we’re using even if it’s biodiesel.

  • Nick Chambers

    Ian,

    From what I’ve read, because they have nearly complete conversion of the feedstock to biodiesel, there is a very tiny amount of glycerine that comes out at the end… hence the statement “virtually no waste.” Glycerine is not a dangerous byproduct and can be sold as a value added product to the cosmetics industry.

    Also, the inventors claim that because of the very efficient heat recapture off the column it actually uses very little energy to power the process once it gets up to temperature. Remember it’s a continuous flow so there’s no shutting down… eliminating the energy demands of constantly restarting.

    I do agree that we all need to use less energy to start with, but I think it’s a 3-prong attack:

    1) Use less

    2) Develop future renewable energy sources (i.e electric, hydrogen)

    3) Before future techs are truly viable, replace current energy sources with the best possible retrofit technology (i.e. biofuels, low-sulfur diesel, more fuel efficient cars/trucks, hybrids)

  • Jay Tee

    I’m with da on this one…. you mark yourself as shallow when you can’t resist America-bashing, even while delivering good news.

    Don’t kid yourself, this country is going to make slow, steady progress, no matter what administration is in power.

    Quit with the shallow politics and just report the energy news, ok?

  • Jay Tee

    I’m with da on this one…. you mark yourself as shallow when you can’t resist America-bashing, even while delivering good news.

    Don’t kid yourself, this country is going to make slow, steady progress, no matter what administration is in power.

    Quit with the shallow politics and just report the energy news, ok?

  • Johnny

    I don’t think Minnesota is typically considered ‘the Midwest’.

    Exciting story though. And I agree with you that our government is indeed monstrously pathetic.

  • Johnny

    I don’t think Minnesota is typically considered ‘the Midwest’.

    Exciting story though. And I agree with you that our government is indeed monstrously pathetic.

  • Johnny

    I don’t think Minnesota is typically considered ‘the Midwest’.

    Exciting story though. And I agree with you that our government is indeed monstrously pathetic.

  • Johnny

    I don’t think Minnesota is typically considered ‘the Midwest’.

    Exciting story though. And I agree with you that our government is indeed monstrously pathetic.

  • Nick Chambers

    Jay Tee,

    Is it just me, or does “just reporting the energy news” sound as much like the lifeless and unenthusiastic endeavor that the statement makes it out to be?

    When I read it out loud, “just reporting the energy news” sounds like it might suck my soul away.

  • Emily

    Nick please ask these guys to substantiate where the glycerol goes. I haven’t been able to get any info from them.

    I asked these guys about the process months ago and I got no info from them about it.

  • Emily

    Nick please ask these guys to substantiate where the glycerol goes. I haven’t been able to get any info from them.

    I asked these guys about the process months ago and I got no info from them about it.

  • Emily

    Nick please ask these guys to substantiate where the glycerol goes. I haven’t been able to get any info from them.

    I asked these guys about the process months ago and I got no info from them about it.

  • Nick Chambers

    Emily,

    Here’s a link to an Ever Cat Fuels web page that covers this a little bit:

    http://www.evercatfuels.com/technology-McgyanProcess.asp

    Also the Biodiesel Magazine article I found as one of my sources states that:

    “The catalyst even dehydrates glycerin into other chemicals that act as additives to improve the quality of the resulting biodiesel, which increases the amount of biodiesel produced from a pound of vegetable oil.”

    I’ll see if I can’t get ahold of somebody at Ever Cat to confirm.

  • I use the term “hippy” tongue-in-cheek (BTW, I’m not as old as you might have guessed) to describe the left-leaning technorati that I’m guessing makes up 90% of your readers.

    I don’t claim to “love absolutely everything about this country”. I just don’t think it’s necessary to preface a positive statement about the US with negative context, unless, of course, I’m trying to keep my street cred with the left-leaning technorati that I’m writing for.

    I’m not saying you’re a bad person for it either. This is your blog, man, do what you want. Don’t mind the sarcastic wags like me.

  • I use the term “hippy” tongue-in-cheek (BTW, I’m not as old as you might have guessed) to describe the left-leaning technorati that I’m guessing makes up 90% of your readers.

    I don’t claim to “love absolutely everything about this country”. I just don’t think it’s necessary to preface a positive statement about the US with negative context, unless, of course, I’m trying to keep my street cred with the left-leaning technorati that I’m writing for.

    I’m not saying you’re a bad person for it either. This is your blog, man, do what you want. Don’t mind the sarcastic wags like me.

  • Uncle B

    before long, the cruel oil barons won’t be able to afford American baloney! Maybe they’ll go back to the deserts and do solar! Thanks fellas!

  • Uncle B

    before long, the cruel oil barons won’t be able to afford American baloney! Maybe they’ll go back to the deserts and do solar! Thanks fellas!

  • Uncle B

    before long, the cruel oil barons won’t be able to afford American baloney! Maybe they’ll go back to the deserts and do solar! Thanks fellas!

  • Bill Henslee

    “the process can convert any animal fat or vegetable oil, mixed in any ratio, into biodiesel using the same compact reactor in a continuous stream”

    Cool, but where does this continuous stream come from? If this is a process exclusively for individual use within a closed system within a vehicle, you’d have to have an idea of the size of the holding tank for raw oils and the size of the tank to receive the ‘essentially no waste stream.”

    When you consider the projected facility to produce 3,000,000 or 30,000,000 gallons per day, even if the ‘reactor’ isn’t large or doesn’t need huge vats because it can use a ‘continuous stream’, I wonder where you will get the continuous stream of precursor vegetable oil or animal fat products absent any extant pipelines from zillions of restaurants and rendering plants to a ‘reactor’

    And where will you find the precursor biofuel products in sufficient quantity to convert them to this staggering production estimate. The logistics seem to be against a commercial application.

    There is a guy in Webster Texas who claims he is producing his own biomass fuel from oils and fats he collects at local restaurants. Just to run his ONE car, he has to collect from several restaurants.

    I love the idea that a miracle invention will make us magically energy independent, but I fear this will lead to fights over the lease of mineral rights of restaurant deep-fryers?.

  • Bill Henslee

    “the process can convert any animal fat or vegetable oil, mixed in any ratio, into biodiesel using the same compact reactor in a continuous stream”

    Cool, but where does this continuous stream come from? If this is a process exclusively for individual use within a closed system within a vehicle, you’d have to have an idea of the size of the holding tank for raw oils and the size of the tank to receive the ‘essentially no waste stream.”

    When you consider the projected facility to produce 3,000,000 or 30,000,000 gallons per day, even if the ‘reactor’ isn’t large or doesn’t need huge vats because it can use a ‘continuous stream’, I wonder where you will get the continuous stream of precursor vegetable oil or animal fat products absent any extant pipelines from zillions of restaurants and rendering plants to a ‘reactor’

    And where will you find the precursor biofuel products in sufficient quantity to convert them to this staggering production estimate. The logistics seem to be against a commercial application.

    There is a guy in Webster Texas who claims he is producing his own biomass fuel from oils and fats he collects at local restaurants. Just to run his ONE car, he has to collect from several restaurants.

    I love the idea that a miracle invention will make us magically energy independent, but I fear this will lead to fights over the lease of mineral rights of restaurant deep-fryers?.

  • Bill Henslee

    “the process can convert any animal fat or vegetable oil, mixed in any ratio, into biodiesel using the same compact reactor in a continuous stream”

    Cool, but where does this continuous stream come from? If this is a process exclusively for individual use within a closed system within a vehicle, you’d have to have an idea of the size of the holding tank for raw oils and the size of the tank to receive the ‘essentially no waste stream.”

    When you consider the projected facility to produce 3,000,000 or 30,000,000 gallons per day, even if the ‘reactor’ isn’t large or doesn’t need huge vats because it can use a ‘continuous stream’, I wonder where you will get the continuous stream of precursor vegetable oil or animal fat products absent any extant pipelines from zillions of restaurants and rendering plants to a ‘reactor’

    And where will you find the precursor biofuel products in sufficient quantity to convert them to this staggering production estimate. The logistics seem to be against a commercial application.

    There is a guy in Webster Texas who claims he is producing his own biomass fuel from oils and fats he collects at local restaurants. Just to run his ONE car, he has to collect from several restaurants.

    I love the idea that a miracle invention will make us magically energy independent, but I fear this will lead to fights over the lease of mineral rights of restaurant deep-fryers?.

  • Bill Henslee

    “the process can convert any animal fat or vegetable oil, mixed in any ratio, into biodiesel using the same compact reactor in a continuous stream”

    Cool, but where does this continuous stream come from? If this is a process exclusively for individual use within a closed system within a vehicle, you’d have to have an idea of the size of the holding tank for raw oils and the size of the tank to receive the ‘essentially no waste stream.”

    When you consider the projected facility to produce 3,000,000 or 30,000,000 gallons per day, even if the ‘reactor’ isn’t large or doesn’t need huge vats because it can use a ‘continuous stream’, I wonder where you will get the continuous stream of precursor vegetable oil or animal fat products absent any extant pipelines from zillions of restaurants and rendering plants to a ‘reactor’

    And where will you find the precursor biofuel products in sufficient quantity to convert them to this staggering production estimate. The logistics seem to be against a commercial application.

    There is a guy in Webster Texas who claims he is producing his own biomass fuel from oils and fats he collects at local restaurants. Just to run his ONE car, he has to collect from several restaurants.

    I love the idea that a miracle invention will make us magically energy independent, but I fear this will lead to fights over the lease of mineral rights of restaurant deep-fryers?.

  • somesuch

    “I just don’t think it’s necessary to preface a positive statement about the US with negative context, unless, of course, I’m trying to keep my street cred with the left-leaning technorati that I’m writing for.”

    If you do not like criticism as a preface, then why do you use it? Are you trying to keep your street cred with the extremists who harass or assassinate the character of anyone who disagrees with them?

    Take a good look in the mirror. The monster you seek is yourself.

    Context of a negative environment accentuates the positive. You fail to show a left/right angle to this concept, because there is none. It is simple math.

  • somesuch

    “I just don’t think it’s necessary to preface a positive statement about the US with negative context, unless, of course, I’m trying to keep my street cred with the left-leaning technorati that I’m writing for.”

    If you do not like criticism as a preface, then why do you use it? Are you trying to keep your street cred with the extremists who harass or assassinate the character of anyone who disagrees with them?

    Take a good look in the mirror. The monster you seek is yourself.

    Context of a negative environment accentuates the positive. You fail to show a left/right angle to this concept, because there is none. It is simple math.

  • somesuch

    “I just don’t think it’s necessary to preface a positive statement about the US with negative context, unless, of course, I’m trying to keep my street cred with the left-leaning technorati that I’m writing for.”

    If you do not like criticism as a preface, then why do you use it? Are you trying to keep your street cred with the extremists who harass or assassinate the character of anyone who disagrees with them?

    Take a good look in the mirror. The monster you seek is yourself.

    Context of a negative environment accentuates the positive. You fail to show a left/right angle to this concept, because there is none. It is simple math.

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  • Pete

    How is this ingenuity typically American? Does it differ from is ingenuity in other countries? If so how?

    All this flag waving that you Yankees do seems to be a sign of insecurity.

    By the way, this blind patriotism makes it very easy for Bush and his cronies to manipulate you. Just accuse somebody of lack of patriotism and their arguments will be ignored. Just say that something is the American Way, and it can not be criticised.

  • Pete

    How is this ingenuity typically American? Does it differ from is ingenuity in other countries? If so how?

    All this flag waving that you Yankees do seems to be a sign of insecurity.

    By the way, this blind patriotism makes it very easy for Bush and his cronies to manipulate you. Just accuse somebody of lack of patriotism and their arguments will be ignored. Just say that something is the American Way, and it can not be criticised.

  • Pete

    How is this ingenuity typically American? Does it differ from is ingenuity in other countries? If so how?

    All this flag waving that you Yankees do seems to be a sign of insecurity.

    By the way, this blind patriotism makes it very easy for Bush and his cronies to manipulate you. Just accuse somebody of lack of patriotism and their arguments will be ignored. Just say that something is the American Way, and it can not be criticised.

  • Nick Chambers

    Pete,

    I (and other commenters) have addressed your questions in previous comments. Please read through them for a perspective on what you consider “blind patriotism” and an explanation as to why I considered this “American ingenuity” and also why I really didn’t feel the need to explain why it was classically representative of American ingenuity until forced to by commenters.

    BTW, I have a German wife who grew up in former East Germany and two kids who both have dual citizenship and I’ve lived in other countries besides the US for extended periods… so I’d say that the results of my life pretty well speak for themselves about my world view.

  • Ryan

    I think this sounds great, but personally I’d like to see this arrive in the form of home kits rather than focusing on large-scale production. I’d rather see local biodiesel coops sprout up around using waste fryer grease from local restaurants with this tech. That way less fuel is burned shipping the feedstock to processing, and there is little threat ov converting food crop fields to fuel crop fields.

  • Ryan

    I think this sounds great, but personally I’d like to see this arrive in the form of home kits rather than focusing on large-scale production. I’d rather see local biodiesel coops sprout up around using waste fryer grease from local restaurants with this tech. That way less fuel is burned shipping the feedstock to processing, and there is little threat ov converting food crop fields to fuel crop fields.

  • Ryan

    I think this sounds great, but personally I’d like to see this arrive in the form of home kits rather than focusing on large-scale production. I’d rather see local biodiesel coops sprout up around using waste fryer grease from local restaurants with this tech. That way less fuel is burned shipping the feedstock to processing, and there is little threat ov converting food crop fields to fuel crop fields.

  • BLACK GREASE

    first of all, DA was right, your journalism is weak at best – and that is coming from an accomplished ireporter so i KNOW what i am talking about.

    second of all, you have obviously missed some major points – there is no way they can produce biodiesel with no waste products at all – it sounds to me like you have no clue what you are talking about.

    i have been running grease since 1977 and currently have a 12 valve cummins powered hummer and run nothing but grease, no bio or any of that. I am the first black greaser so i KNOW what i am talking about.

    Keep on greasin,

    Roger Carver

  • BLACK GREASE

    first of all, DA was right, your journalism is weak at best – and that is coming from an accomplished ireporter so i KNOW what i am talking about.

    second of all, you have obviously missed some major points – there is no way they can produce biodiesel with no waste products at all – it sounds to me like you have no clue what you are talking about.

    i have been running grease since 1977 and currently have a 12 valve cummins powered hummer and run nothing but grease, no bio or any of that. I am the first black greaser so i KNOW what i am talking about.

    Keep on greasin,

    Roger Carver

  • BLACK GREASE

    first of all, DA was right, your journalism is weak at best – and that is coming from an accomplished ireporter so i KNOW what i am talking about.

    second of all, you have obviously missed some major points – there is no way they can produce biodiesel with no waste products at all – it sounds to me like you have no clue what you are talking about.

    i have been running grease since 1977 and currently have a 12 valve cummins powered hummer and run nothing but grease, no bio or any of that. I am the first black greaser so i KNOW what i am talking about.

    Keep on greasin,

    Roger Carver

  • Nick Chambers

    BLACK GREASE,

    What is an “ireporter”? Do you mean you’ve submitted comments to CNN’s iReport scheme? My experience is that someone who tells you straight up that they “KNOW” what they’re talking about doesn’t have any clue what they’re talking about.

    The level of an individual’s knowledge is something that usually becomes apparent after some exposure to that individual… my first exposure to you as an individual is leaving me with little confidence that you truly “KNOW” what you’re talking about.

    Can I ask you, did you read through any of the links I used as citations in my post? If you had, you would see that I’m not making any of this up and that, at least according to other published reports and Ever Cat white papers, the process produces essentially no waste… only a trace amount of glycerin.

  • Good to see a chemistry department produce some interesting and potentially useful chemistry. The process has a high conversion rate and a short reaction time which might make it economic, if the cost of feed is low enough and the price of the biodiesel high enough.

    The work has appeared in a peer reviewed journal (Applied Catalysis, published by Reed Elesvier) which means that the work has been reviewed by at least one other and possibly two academics in the same field of catalysis to ensure that it isn’t baloney. That’s good enough for me.

    If you want to see the original work in its full glory follow this link: http://tiny.cc/b3T3x. You might want to check the patent position first though.

  • Good to see a chemistry department produce some interesting and potentially useful chemistry. The process has a high conversion rate and a short reaction time which might make it economic, if the cost of feed is low enough and the price of the biodiesel high enough.

    The work has appeared in a peer reviewed journal (Applied Catalysis, published by Reed Elesvier) which means that the work has been reviewed by at least one other and possibly two academics in the same field of catalysis to ensure that it isn’t baloney. That’s good enough for me.

    If you want to see the original work in its full glory follow this link: http://tiny.cc/b3T3x. You might want to check the patent position first though.

  • Good to see a chemistry department produce some interesting and potentially useful chemistry. The process has a high conversion rate and a short reaction time which might make it economic, if the cost of feed is low enough and the price of the biodiesel high enough.

    The work has appeared in a peer reviewed journal (Applied Catalysis, published by Reed Elesvier) which means that the work has been reviewed by at least one other and possibly two academics in the same field of catalysis to ensure that it isn’t baloney. That’s good enough for me.

    If you want to see the original work in its full glory follow this link: http://tiny.cc/b3T3x. You might want to check the patent position first though.

  • Good to see a chemistry department produce some interesting and potentially useful chemistry. The process has a high conversion rate and a short reaction time which might make it economic, if the cost of feed is low enough and the price of the biodiesel high enough.

    The work has appeared in a peer reviewed journal (Applied Catalysis, published by Reed Elesvier) which means that the work has been reviewed by at least one other and possibly two academics in the same field of catalysis to ensure that it isn’t baloney. That’s good enough for me.

    If you want to see the original work in its full glory follow this link: http://tiny.cc/b3T3x. You might want to check the patent position first though.

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  • Mauro Mecca

    I too am very excited about the McGyan process and think it could be the source of a signifigant amounts of very low sulfur biodiesel especially if a reliable source of algae is available. However is EverCat progressing? Since March very little has been published. Are they near production on their pilot plant? If so have they licenced the process to a waiting world?

  • Mauro Mecca

    I too am very excited about the McGyan process and think it could be the source of a signifigant amounts of very low sulfur biodiesel especially if a reliable source of algae is available. However is EverCat progressing? Since March very little has been published. Are they near production on their pilot plant? If so have they licenced the process to a waiting world?

  • Mauro Mecca

    I too am very excited about the McGyan process and think it could be the source of a signifigant amounts of very low sulfur biodiesel especially if a reliable source of algae is available. However is EverCat progressing? Since March very little has been published. Are they near production on their pilot plant? If so have they licenced the process to a waiting world?

  • Mauro Mecca

    I too am very excited about the McGyan process and think it could be the source of a signifigant amounts of very low sulfur biodiesel especially if a reliable source of algae is available. However is EverCat progressing? Since March very little has been published. Are they near production on their pilot plant? If so have they licenced the process to a waiting world?

  • Hi Nick,

    I liked your article. I think some of the criticism is uncalled for. Blogging is not journalism. I believe it is more of a way to spread opinions, information and basically express our opinions and complaints as our rights under the Constitution of the United States. Whether all the information is correct or not, it makes people think and research the topic more. As Americans we are a nation of free thinking people who have always taken ingenuity, free enterprise, and our inherited rights as free persons to higher levels. Blogging is in my opinion a lot more honest than any newspaper or magazine would be. There are no political points involved. To be honest I am not a proponent for ethanol biofuels. The Biodiesel fuels I believe will have a greater impact on our environment and in the long run a more sustainable impact on our future. Food crops should be grown to feed our population not our gas tanks, while world hunger increases.

    Your site is great

    Keep doing what your doing!!!

  • Hi Nick,

    I liked your article. I think some of the criticism is uncalled for. Blogging is not journalism. I believe it is more of a way to spread opinions, information and basically express our opinions and complaints as our rights under the Constitution of the United States. Whether all the information is correct or not, it makes people think and research the topic more. As Americans we are a nation of free thinking people who have always taken ingenuity, free enterprise, and our inherited rights as free persons to higher levels. Blogging is in my opinion a lot more honest than any newspaper or magazine would be. There are no political points involved. To be honest I am not a proponent for ethanol biofuels. The Biodiesel fuels I believe will have a greater impact on our environment and in the long run a more sustainable impact on our future. Food crops should be grown to feed our population not our gas tanks, while world hunger increases.

    Your site is great

    Keep doing what your doing!!!

  • Hi Nick,

    I liked your article. I think some of the criticism is uncalled for. Blogging is not journalism. I believe it is more of a way to spread opinions, information and basically express our opinions and complaints as our rights under the Constitution of the United States. Whether all the information is correct or not, it makes people think and research the topic more. As Americans we are a nation of free thinking people who have always taken ingenuity, free enterprise, and our inherited rights as free persons to higher levels. Blogging is in my opinion a lot more honest than any newspaper or magazine would be. There are no political points involved. To be honest I am not a proponent for ethanol biofuels. The Biodiesel fuels I believe will have a greater impact on our environment and in the long run a more sustainable impact on our future. Food crops should be grown to feed our population not our gas tanks, while world hunger increases.

    Your site is great

    Keep doing what your doing!!!

  • Hi Nick,

    I liked your article. I think some of the criticism is uncalled for. Blogging is not journalism. I believe it is more of a way to spread opinions, information and basically express our opinions and complaints as our rights under the Constitution of the United States. Whether all the information is correct or not, it makes people think and research the topic more. As Americans we are a nation of free thinking people who have always taken ingenuity, free enterprise, and our inherited rights as free persons to higher levels. Blogging is in my opinion a lot more honest than any newspaper or magazine would be. There are no political points involved. To be honest I am not a proponent for ethanol biofuels. The Biodiesel fuels I believe will have a greater impact on our environment and in the long run a more sustainable impact on our future. Food crops should be grown to feed our population not our gas tanks, while world hunger increases.

    Your site is great

    Keep doing what your doing!!!

  • E.G. Meyer

    Your journalism is right in line with the drive-by media, poor colloquialisms and cheap shots at the U.S. government. But in addition, the chemistry as has been reported elsewhere is questionable, and there is absolutely nothing on the economics.

  • E.G. Meyer

    Your journalism is right in line with the drive-by media, poor colloquialisms and cheap shots at the U.S. government. But in addition, the chemistry as has been reported elsewhere is questionable, and there is absolutely nothing on the economics.

  • E.G. Meyer

    Your journalism is right in line with the drive-by media, poor colloquialisms and cheap shots at the U.S. government. But in addition, the chemistry as has been reported elsewhere is questionable, and there is absolutely nothing on the economics.

  • E.G. Meyer

    Your journalism is right in line with the drive-by media, poor colloquialisms and cheap shots at the U.S. government. But in addition, the chemistry as has been reported elsewhere is questionable, and there is absolutely nothing on the economics.

  • Chaz

    I wonder if they sell these kits for individual households? Will it work with Bacon grease? How ’bout pork fat? Maybe if I ran a restaurant I could start a great American business and get ‘free’ fuel.

  • Chaz

    I wonder if they sell these kits for individual households? Will it work with Bacon grease? How ’bout pork fat? Maybe if I ran a restaurant I could start a great American business and get ‘free’ fuel.

  • Chaz

    I wonder if they sell these kits for individual households? Will it work with Bacon grease? How ’bout pork fat? Maybe if I ran a restaurant I could start a great American business and get ‘free’ fuel.

  • Chaz

    I wonder if they sell these kits for individual households? Will it work with Bacon grease? How ’bout pork fat? Maybe if I ran a restaurant I could start a great American business and get ‘free’ fuel.

  • Richard Miller

    Have not yet seen a claim about the carbon footprint of this process. It appears to require heat and alcohol as inputs (in addition to waste oil). If alcohol = ethanol or methanol, then we wind up again with unresolved questions about the carbon footprint of ethanol/methanol. If heat comes from fossil fuel or ethanol then the same questions apply. (Question: Can you heat the reactor with part of the biodiesel output and still have a net productive process?)

    On the other hand if this is truly a freestanding economic entity (no government subsidies) then perhaps this process is a good thing. But I think there are biodiesel subsidies aren’t there?

  • Richard Miller

    Have not yet seen a claim about the carbon footprint of this process. It appears to require heat and alcohol as inputs (in addition to waste oil). If alcohol = ethanol or methanol, then we wind up again with unresolved questions about the carbon footprint of ethanol/methanol. If heat comes from fossil fuel or ethanol then the same questions apply. (Question: Can you heat the reactor with part of the biodiesel output and still have a net productive process?)

    On the other hand if this is truly a freestanding economic entity (no government subsidies) then perhaps this process is a good thing. But I think there are biodiesel subsidies aren’t there?

  • Richard Miller

    Have not yet seen a claim about the carbon footprint of this process. It appears to require heat and alcohol as inputs (in addition to waste oil). If alcohol = ethanol or methanol, then we wind up again with unresolved questions about the carbon footprint of ethanol/methanol. If heat comes from fossil fuel or ethanol then the same questions apply. (Question: Can you heat the reactor with part of the biodiesel output and still have a net productive process?)

    On the other hand if this is truly a freestanding economic entity (no government subsidies) then perhaps this process is a good thing. But I think there are biodiesel subsidies aren’t there?

  • Richard Miller

    Have not yet seen a claim about the carbon footprint of this process. It appears to require heat and alcohol as inputs (in addition to waste oil). If alcohol = ethanol or methanol, then we wind up again with unresolved questions about the carbon footprint of ethanol/methanol. If heat comes from fossil fuel or ethanol then the same questions apply. (Question: Can you heat the reactor with part of the biodiesel output and still have a net productive process?)

    On the other hand if this is truly a freestanding economic entity (no government subsidies) then perhaps this process is a good thing. But I think there are biodiesel subsidies aren’t there?

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