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Production Process Insights

Why is Sampling Renewable Hydrocarbon Biofuels Important?

Posted by Horacio Salinas, Jr. on 11/17/21 8:00 AM
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Renewable Hydrocarbon Biofuels

Renewable hydrocarbon biofuels are fuels produced from biomass sources, such as vegetable oils, animal fats, or specialized crops. These products are chemically identical to standard petroleum-based products and can be used in existing engines and infrastructure. Because of this, these biofuels require stringent testing similar to petroleum-based products.

Renewable fuels have a significantly lower carbon footprint than petroleum diesel. Carbon dioxide captured by growing feedstocks reduces greenhouse gas emissions by balancing carbon dioxide released from burning renewable hydrocarbon biofuels with conventional fuels. Producing these fuels supports companies’ missions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, other air pollutants, and water use.

Due to these benefits, many fuel production plants have converted – or are planning to convert – traditional refining processes to biodiesel or biofuel production processes. This conversion comes with many challenges, including ensuring that sampling processes are used to sample these fuels properly.

Facing increased legislation and regulation

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program is a national policy that requires a particular volume of renewable fuel to replace or reduce the quantity of petroleum-based transportation fuel, heating oil, or jet fuel. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) significantly increased the size of the RFS program by boosting long-term production goals to 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel per year.

The RFS program includes four categories of renewable fuel:

  1. Advanced biofuels - produced from types of renewable biomass, such as sugarcane, biobutanol, and bionaphtha
  2. Biomass-based diesel - produced from biomass such as soybean oil, canola oil, waste oil, or animal fats
  3. Cellulosic biofuel - produced from cellulose or hemicellulose of corn stover, wood chips, Miscanthus ornamental grasses, or biogas
  4. Conventional renewable biofuel - including ethanol from corn starch or other renewable fuels

maximize safety with Representative sampling

Renewable fuels undergo many similar processes as traditional fuels during production, making it essential to sample them for quality, safety, and integrity, just as you would in a conventional refinery.

Sampling can help production plants:

  • Meet stringent environmental standards
  • Maximize product quality
  • Ensure product integrity
  • Maintain safety of personnel and equipment

The first step in ensuring proper sampling is to sample at suitable locations within the biofuel production process. These can include:

  • Renewable feedstock sources – Sample raw materials before production to ensure appropriate ingredients enter the process
  • Intermediate hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) products – Sample products to ensure sufficient removal of oxygen
  • Hydrogen sulfide – Sample for hydrogen sulfide (H2S) to ensure elimination of corrosive contaminants
  • Sour water – Sample to ensure sufficient removal of H2S and ammonia to condition the water for discharge or to be reused in the plant

Sentry has experience with various applications in refineries worldwide, providing sampling systems and service and support for these systems. Our experience and expertise can help you navigate the unique requirements of producing renewable fuels so you can expand to meet this growing demand.

Contact us at +1-262-567-7256, or complete our online contact form for more information.

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Topics: Downstream, Upstream & Midstream, Liquid & Slurry, Gas