Self-Cleaning Filters for Biodiesel Production

Richard Kay
Richard Kay
Business Development Manager

Applications Part 2: Enclosed in-line filters give purer oil for increased efficiency of biodiesel production

As environmental concerns gain unprecedented levels of attention worldwide, businesses and consumers alike are seeking out renewable fuel sources. Biodiesel, a clean burning fuel derived from biological sources, is quickly being adopted as an alternative to traditional fossil fuel. Being biodegradable, non-toxic, and producing significantly less net lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions than petroleum diesel, biodiesel can be used on its own or blended with petroleum diesel. In Europe, rapeseed oil is the most common source for biodiesel as rapeseed crop grows in abundance. However, soybean oil, vegetable oil, recycled cooking oil or animal fat can also be used to produce biodiesel. One method of producing biodiesel is to firstly pass the rapeseed through a mill, which extracts the raw oil. A centrifuge then removes seeds from the oil by using the difference in density between the two. After this stage a Self-Cleaning Russell Eco Filter® can be installed.

Filtering-rapeseed-oil.jpg

By installing this enclosed in-line filter the finer particles floating in the oil which have a different density than the seeds can be removed. Unlike most other breeds of self-cleaning filters, the Russell Eco Filter’s wipers work on a continuous basis, cleaning the filter element at all times. This ensures the screen remains clear of blockages, which in turn gives consistent throughput rates and prevents a build up of differential pressure. After the oil has been passed through a Self-Cleaning Russell Eco Filter®, using a catalyst, the rapeseed oil reacts with methanol, producing methyl ester (Biodiesel) with glyrcerin by-product. The final stage of the process is the separation of glyrcerin from biodiesel. This can be achieved through gravity separation (glycerin is much more dense than biodiesel) or by using a centrifuge.

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