Hydrothermal Cleanup Renewable Diesel Pretreatment

Hydrothermal Cleanup

Overview

Water. Temperature. Pressure. Turbulent Flow.

Hydrothermal Cleanup (HCU)
Hydrothermal Cleanup (HCU)
Hydrothermal Cleanup (HCU), US Patent 10,071,322 B2, is ARA’s novel and patented pretreatment process that offers several key advantages over traditional pretreatment processes, producing a clean stream of glycerides and free fatty acid products from lower cost waste feedstocks. HCU consists of a continuous, refinery-friendly, single-step process that utilizes common refinery equipment such as pumps, heat exchangers, and a hot oil furnace or refinery high-pressure steam. The HCU process requires only water, heat, and pressure to remove metals and other inorganics from most common feedstocks.

Utilizing turbulent flow at high temperature and pressure, HCU provides thorough mixing of fats, oils, and greases and water and close contact of the molecules during its short residence time. The single step, continuous process removes metals (including organically bound metals) and other inorganic contaminants while acidulating soaps and hydrolyzing phospholipids into fatty acids and phosphate salts.

lineHCU is a Pretreatment Process that Utilizes Conventional Refining Process Equipment and Generates No Solid Wastes

  • HCU uses pumps and heat exchangers typical to petroleum refineries
  • HCU is a continuous flow process
  • Feed stock particulate filtering is only necessary to protect pumps
  • Centrifuges are not required for separation of the clean lipid product and water
  • Diatomaceous earth and bleaching clay filtering are not required
  • Activated carbon filtering is not required
  • Effluent water can be treated by conventional wastewater treatment processes

No Mass Loss

Cleanup Results

Distiller’s Corn Oil Pretreatment
Distiller’s Corn Oil Pretreatment: HCU reduces the metals content of distiller’s corn oil and used cooking oil from a typical range of 50-500 ppm to less than 10 ppm Phosphorus content is typically reduced to less than 1 ppm. Actual test results for two different clean distiller’s corn oil samples show near complete metals removal.
Used Cooking Oil Pretreatment
Used Cooking Oil Pretreatment: Actual HCU test results for two different used cooking oils also show near complete metals reduction.
Brown Grease Pretreatment
Brown Grease Pretreatment: HCU is also a very effective pretreatment process for highly-contaminated feed stocks such as brown grease. Actual test results show >98% metals reduction in a single step.
Poultry Fat Pretreatment
Poultry Fat Pretreatment: HCU has also proven itself as an excellent pretreatment process for poultry fat and other high inorganic content feedstocks that typically have significant amounts of organically bound metals.
  • HCU preserves nearly 100% of the feedstock – including the lipid portion of phospholipids
  • Conventional cleanup technologies lose up to 5% of the feedstock:
    • phospholipids and gums are removed as wastes
    • lipids are lost in spent bleaching clay
    • lipids are lost in spent activated carbon
    • Lipids are lost in wastewater emulsions

No equipment modifications required
for highly-contaminated feedstocks

  • HCU uses the same process
    regardless of inorganic content in the feedstock.
  • Operating costs are similar for
    RBD soybean oil (20ppm inorganics),
    DCO (50 ppm inorganics),
    UCO (200-500 ppm inorganics),
    and brown grease (>1000 ppm inorganics).
  • Conventional technologies require
    frequent changes of filter media
    for higher inorganic content feedstocks.
  • HCU performance has been successfully demonstrated
    on many challenging feedstocks
    • Distiller’s Corn Oil
    • Used Cooking Oil
    • Brown Grease
    • Soapstock
    • Fatty Acid Distillate
    • Phosphatide Gums
    • Algal Oils (up to 70% phospholipids)

Process

The HCU process consists of the following continuous flow steps:

  1. The renewable feedstock and water are pumped separately at system pressure into a a static mixer.
  2. The feed/water mixture is then heated to about 450°F by a feed-effluent heat exchanger, heated by a furnace and/or refinery high-pressure steam.
  3. From the heat exchanger, the heated mixture flows through an insulated tubular reactor that maintains temperature, provides turbulent flow for a 2-minute residence time, and transfers the metals and other inorganics from the feedstock into the water.
  4. Upon exiting the reactor, the processed material flows through the feed-effluent heat exchanger and a trim cooler that cools the material to about 200°F, and the pressure is reduced to near ambient.
  5. Finally, the material flows into a gravity oil-water separator where the clean organic phase and the aqueous/inorganics phase readily separate in a few hours.

Feedstocks

HCU has been proven to successfully pretreat a wide range of feedstocks including:

  • distiller’s corn oil (DCO)
  • beef tallow
  • used cooking oil (UCO)
  • brown grease
  • soapstock
  • phosphatide gums
  • crude degummed soybean oil
  • soap stock
  • pongamia oil
  • refined and crude carinata oil
  • palm oil
  • algal oil

HCU can be used as a degumming process as it hydrolyzes phospholipids.  It can also be used as an acidulation process for converting soaps to clean free fatty acids.

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Licensing

For licensing information, please contact:

Chuck Red  |  cred@ara.com  |  850.628.0332 or
Jim Shinn  |  jshinn@ara.com  |  802.233.0068

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