Project Synopsis

Create a simulation model and spread sheet interface tools for a process to produce Green Diesel from corn oil.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client, a start-up technology company, to develop a simulation for a process that produces diesel from corn oil using a hydrotreater, hydrocracker, and distillation unit.  The simulation also included a hydrogen reformer and hydrogen recycle loop.  Pressure swing adsorption (PSA) was included for hydrogen purification along with hydrogen membrane separation technology.  A distillation train was modeled to fractionate the diesel from light gases and propane produced from cracking triglycerides.  The product is termed “Green Diesel” because the feedstock source may be edible oil, waste grease, or biomass.

Chemstations’ CHEMCAD software was used to develop the simulation flow sheet.  PROCESS also consulted with the client on various challenges associated with the green diesel process.  This included a discussion on methods to remove excessive heat generated in the hydrotreater as a result of the exotherm exhibited by corn oil fats when hydrotreated and/or cracked.

PROCESS developed an MS Excel file with automated Visual Basic programming that extracted process information from the CHEMCAD simulation file.  The Excel file contained the process mass and energy balance tables and customized input/output tables with summary information for key process data.

Industry Type

  • Alternative Fuels

Utilized Skills

  • Process simulation
  • Alternative fuel process design

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