TG Daily: Enzymes Lead the Way to Sustainable Biodiesel
From TG Daily (March 2, 2012):
The traditional method of producing biodiesel involves a chemical reaction of an oil feedstock and catalysts like potassium hydroxide and sulfuric acid.
Handling these caustic chemicals is dangerous, and production technicians must wear protective gear at all times during the fuel-making process. A recent breakthrough by Pittsboro, N.C.-based Piedmont Biofuels could change this process, however.
The company has launched commercial production of biodiesel employing a proprietary enzyme catalysis process that it says uses no chemicals and produces no waste.
The announcement marks the first time this process has been used in the U.S.
We recently spoke with Piedmont Biofuels’ co-founder and research director Rachel Burton, who leads the company’s research division, about what this company is doing to make biofuels a greener type of clean energy.
Since 2008, Burton has served on the National Biodiesel Board’s Sustainability Task Force, which assesses the U.S. biodiesel industry’s environmental, economic and social sustainability. The task force supports production methods that maximize the fuel’s net energy balance and minimize negative impacts on natural ecosystems. It also identifies and supports business practices that add value, create wealth, and enhance the quality of life for local and global stakeholders.