Across Australia, the biofuels industry is growing rapidly. In 2015, Australia’s total biofuel production was estimated at 330 million litres, and production is being bolstered by mandates across the country. For example, Queensland enacted a mandate last year requiring 3 percent of all regular unleaded petrol sales to contain bio-based ethanol, while the mandate in NSW is even higher at 6 percent of sales.
Measures like these are helping Australia to become a world leader in biofuel production. And as the industry grows, producers – from large commercial operations, to independent producers – need access to high-quality processing, filtration and biofuel purification equipment. Inferior equipment is a leading cause of lower quality biofuels and it can increase the risk for leaks, fires and environmental contamination.
Biofuel Equipment for Purification, Testing and Stabilisation
Utilising the best equipment touches all stages of biofuels production – from purification, to fuel cleaning and ultimately to purity testing. More effective equipment enables more precise production, and the result is often purer, cleaner biodiesel and ethanol. Here are a few examples of areas in which better equipment can improve production:
- Separation: In biofuels production, there are a number of methods for separating various components in the biofuel. Sedimentation centrifuges are one of the most commonly used. These machines utilise rotation focus to eliminate heavier contaminants and clarify the liquid. Lower quality centrifuges cause a number of problems. Firstly, they aren’t as efficient or effective at separation – requiring longer run times, or potentially delivering an inferior product. Plus, centrifuges have many moving parts. Lower quality machines tend to require more extensive maintenance and lower down time.
- Testing: Testing the quality of a biofuel solution is an important step in the purification process. Yet, the need for high-quality equipment is evident. There are cost-effective solutions like biofuel test strips, which can provide a rough estimate of contaminants within the solution. Advanced systems can further determine the existence of contaminants. Ultimately, higher quality testing equipment ensures the fuel is purer and free of contaminants.
- Washing: Water is a common resource used for cleaning biofuels. Why? Water effectively dissolves many contaminants it touches, and it also separates from high-viscosity liquids like biofuel. Equipment is required to properly remove the water from the final solution – i.e. a coalescer – which can further polish the liquid following the centrifuge. More efficient systems are better prepared to eliminate waters and other contaminants. Additionally, equipment like water sensors can determine if water still exists within the solution. This can be problematic. Low-quality sensors are not as precise, which can leave water in the solution.
These are just a few quick examples of the many various types of equipment used in biofuel production, processing and purification. Ultimately, investing more resources on higher quality, more advanced systems ensures the best quality outputs.