Project Synopsis

Perform a process engineering due diligence evaluation of a biodiesel process for a client who was considering licensing the technology for the purposes of building a new biodiesel production plant overseas.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was subcontracted by an international process engineering company to perform a third party due diligence on a renewable diesel facility located in the U.S.  The ultimate client was a foreign alternative energies company considering purchasing the technology associated with this U.S. facility and developing its own facility.  The technology involved the hydrocracking and hydrotreating of a variety of animal fats, e.g., tallow, yellow grease, and brown grease.

The process consists of a catalyzed reactor, a separation step, and a fractionation step.  The catalyzed reactor uses hydrogen to treat the incoming grease.  The separation step removes the water made in the reaction step, and the fractionation step separates the diesel from the naphtha and light end products.

PROCESS reviewed the process technology claims, plant operating data, a process simulation previously generated by another engineering company, and the process heat and material balance.  PROCESS also had numerous discussions with the technology company technical representative and executed process simulations of portions of the facility to gain a good understanding of plant operation and capabilities.  PROCESS then visited the technology company’s pilot plant facility where the process was inspected, plant engineering and operations personnel were interviewed, and additional insights were gained regarding the key aspects of the technology.  PROCESS performed all these tasks under a joint confidentiality agreement with both the technology company and the ultimate client.

PROCESS then provided a written report of its findings to the ultimate client.  A key finding was that the project economics have little dependence on feed stock costs and are instead highly dependent on a ready supply of hydrogen.

Industry Type

  • Alternative Fuels Production

Utilized Skills

  • Process technology evaluation
  • Process technology due diligence

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