Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

FP7

BIOHEATINGOIL Report Summary

Project reference: 605616
Funded under: FP7-SME

Final Report Summary - BIOHEATINGOIL (Development of an automated processing method, a “Green Box”, for production of bio heating oil from waste sources)

Executive Summary:

The purpose with the BioHeatingOil-project was to develop a robust and cost-effective automated processing method for production of bio heating oil - using fatty waste sources as raw material.

To begin with, it was necessary to select proper methods for process monitoring, for identification of parameters like FFA, ash residue and water contents in oil. The process control includes: quality of raw-materials, process parameters and end-product quality. In the Green Box the automated on-line methods were preferred. The methods employ optic sensors or physicochemical parameters control, therefore they are precise and can be fully automated.

The quality of the product destined for heating had to fulfill requirements specified for heating oil or biodiesel production raw materials. If the heating oil is to be used in the arctic conditions, the requirements for the oil, regarding its water and ash contents, should be stricter: 200-300 ppm for water content and 0.015 % for ash content. To ensure that the safety margin was kept, the values of 1 % for water and 0.01 % for ash were set.

Water and ash are removed to the desired level in two step operation which occurs in Modules 1 and 3. First module is responsible for coarse ash and water removing, third for fine ash and water removing. The second module is needed only when FFA level in raw material exceeds 5 %. In case of very high FFA level, flowing reactors should work in series. In a typical situation, with the use of the majority of fats available on the market, flow reactors in Module 2 should operate parallel for the highest productivity.

The two modules 1 and 3 mentioned above were integrated into a 20 ft. container – the Green Box. Module 1 - “The water reduction unit” and module 3 - “The ash reduction unit”. The constructed Green Box has a mechanical separation method to remove water from oil, by utilizing the density differences. Several techniques were applied to reduce the ash level. In addition to the process units, the Green Box has its own heating system to heat the oil up to the required process temperature and several pumps and a closed piping system to transport the fluid through the system.

Module 2 – “The FFA reduction unit” was not included in the prototype, but investigation into technologies were made, methods were tested in lab scale, SoA technologies were selected and designed in 3D.

Based on the knowledge gained so far, the Green Box has proved to be an efficient, reliable and robust way to remove water and ash from contaminated oil. GCM will continue to develop the Green Box. The next step on the agenda is to integrate the FFA reduction unit and continue to modify the modules and make them more cost effective and user-friendly.

Project Context and Objectives:

The BioHeatingOil project developed an automated processing method, the “Green Box”, for production of bio heating oil - using waste sources as raw material. Waste sources suitable for the Green Box will be both fat & grease from the food production industry and fat & grease from grease traps. The Green Box will fit into and significantly improve the current bio oil production technology of AS Green Cube Management, the coordinator of the proposed project. In current State of the art (SoA) methods which use fat & grease as a raw material, the quality of the raw material to be put into the production determine the quality of the end product. If poor quality media is put into the process, you will get a poor quality of bio oil as end product, and if a high quality of media is put into the process, you end up with a high quality bio oil as end product. This is most often inconvenient, as the user requirements for the bio oil may then often differ from what the production results is. In addition, current SoA methods can currently not handle waste from grease traps as an input media in their process, since waste from grease traps varies in quality and hence is difficult to process. This waste is therefore currently disposed of, at a cost. The Green Box improves SoA and has a market advantages by providing a process which gives an end product of bio oil for the user with pre-determined quality. Furthermore, the Green Box will be able to produce bio oil from fat & grease waste from grease traps, which currently are not utilized for bio oil production and instead disposed of at a cost. The Green Box concept has an additional advantage in the form of environmental conservation, as the use of bio oil instead of fossil fuel reduces CO2 emission. Other bio oil production processes compete with the food production industry, as these processes require input media which can also be used as food, for example maize and canola oil. Instead, the input media used for the production of bio oil by the “Green Box” will be waste, so that the developed production process has a greater sustainability factor. The parameters we intend to control in the process are FFA (Free Fatty Acids), Water Content and Ash Residue. The levels required of each parameter by the end user are dependent upon the intended use and can vary greatly.

The project idea for BioHeatingOil was established by GCM. GCM is one out of four SME companies in the group AS Green Cube Innovation (GCI). GCI provides bio oil production technology, services & consultation, and produces & sells bio oil to end users. The group has been established recently (the first company in the group was registered in 2006), but has had a tremendous growth over the last three years. The turnover of the group in total has gone from 2.4 MNOK (0.3M€) in 2009 to an estimated 230 MNOK (30M€) in 2012. GCM expects that the development of the Green Box will help them continue to grow as it will give them market advantages, and the possibility of utilizing a new waste source for the production of bio oil. GCM invited three SMEs to join them in the project consortium: Asio from the Czech Republic and MW from Norway, were invited due to their knowledge of industrial process production and control system production. Asio and MW gave valuable input to the RTD work and will act as the producers of the Green Box post project. Further, GCM invited Filtersystem from Sweden to take part in the project. Filtersystem has knowledge of bio oil production, especially filtration of bio oils to improve quality, and provided input to the RTD work related to processing design and development, especially in regard to filter solutions. In addition, Filtersystem is an end user for the Green Box and will also be a distributor post project and provide consultation & services. GCM themselves, will be a distributor of the Green Box and will provide consultation & services, including integration at the end user sites. GCM will cover the market outside of Sweden and Denmark. Both GCM and Filtersystem have established sales forces in their current day-today activities, which will be ready to take on planning of sales of the developed Green Box post project.

GCM did not have the resources or manpower to carry out the research and development needed to achieve the objectives and goals of the project proposal BioHeatingOil. Therefore, GCM initiated to this project proposal and invited the RTDs TI, ICSO and Labor to take part in the project to perform the research and development of the Green Box. Together, the RTDs and the SMEs gained enhanced scientific understanding, defined the end user requirements and product design specifications and developed the Green Box technology. ICSO, located in Poland, with their background in bio oil production technology and lab analysis, was in charge of the RTD work for analysis and process for the Green Box. Labor, Italy, with their vast experience in development of control systems and was in charge of the RTD work for development of the control system for the Green Box. TI, located in Norway, with their team of experts for design and construction and vast experience in testing and validation of industrial process design, did the design and building of the Green Box and further, together with the other partners, tested and validated the developed process.

The overall technology aim was to develop a processing method for upgrading of waste oil which is done as automated as possible . The consortium agreed that partly automated and partly manual operation was the best option for the pilot and the focus was set on securing that the unit could be fully operated by a «lowly skilled operator». In view of the change in market regarding oil price and the potential for the Green Box unit, it was decided to focus on bio heating oil production to meet the market. The technical solution of the prototype had to be a compact and mobile unit which would clean oil at customer's site. The Green Box module was tested and verified to fulfill the set requirements:
•No FFA requirements for bio heating oil.
•Water content below 1 % m/m.
•Ash residue below 0.05 % m/m for bio heating oil.
•Process capacity 1 cubic meter of oil per hour.


Project Results:

The BioHeatingOil project purpose was to develop a robust and cost-effective automated processing method for production of bio heating oil - using fatty waste sources as raw material. Therefore the literature overview for the available methods of water, ash and FFA determination and technology of these contaminants removing method was done. Databases: Espacenet, USPO, SciFinder, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, ACS, Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), Springer were used. Furthermore, information concerning commercially available method in the areas mentioned above, was accomplished through the Internet search. Tests of usability of analytical techniques for water ash and FFA in fats identification was conducted. Criteria for quality of products obtained in the device were established. Alternative setup of the overall system depending on the quality of the raw-material was described and illustrated.

Process concept
The laboratory test results were put in the implementation process of the Green Box three- modules- concept. Water and ash is removed to the desired level in two step operation which occurs in Modules 1 and 3. The first module is responsible for coarse ash and water removing, the third for fine ash and water removing. The second module is needed only when FFA level in raw material exceeds 5 %. In case of very high FFA level, flowing reactors should work in series. In a typical situation, with the use of the majority of fats available on the market, flow reactors in Module 2 should operate parallel for the highest productivity.

The final verification and the selection of the analysis techniques for ash, water and FFA contents, as well as the selection of technology to reduce the contaminants content was formed during the tests at further stages of the project.

The properties of waste fats are mainly determined by the properties of pure fats from which the former originate and by the degradation processes occurring during their exploitation. Three main types of waste oils can be distinguished, depending on their origin: waste oil from households and restaurants, waste oil from food industry and waste oil from non-food industry. The amount of each type of waste oil generated in individual country varies, depending on the uses of oil. Generally, waste oils are inexpensive and they offer an additional environmental impact which is the use of the substances that would otherwise have to be disposed of. Typical contaminants of waste fats are: solid particles, polar compounds, polymerized triglycerides, oxidized triglycerides, free fatty acids (FFA) and water. The variability of the physical and chemical properties of waste materials requires a process for purification which allows the adjustment of appropriate parameters required by the end users.

It was necessary to properly select the analytical methods for process monitoring, i.e. for identification of such parameters like FFA, ash residue and water contents in oil. The process control includes quality of raw-materials, process parameters and end-product quality. In the Green Box the automated on-line methods were preferred. The methods employ optic sensors or physicochemical parameters control, therefore they are precise and can be fully automated.

According to the objectives of the project, the quality of the product destined for heating had to fulfill requirements specified for heating oil or biodiesel production raw materials. If the heating oil is to be used in the arctic conditions, the requirements for the oil, regarding its water and ash contents, should be stricter: 200-300 ppm for water content and 0.015 % for ash content. To ensure that the safety margin is kept, the values of 1 % for water and 0.01 % for ash were assumed in the Project Descriptions.

Analytical methods
Based on the research as presented in this work, it can be affirmed that Potentiometry, Gas Chromatography (GC) and Attenuated Total Reflectance - Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were appropriate for the quantitative determination of the FFA content in fat samples. In the industrial Green Box the automated on-line methods were to be preferred. The above methods employ optic sensors or physicochemical parameters control, therefore they are precise and can be fully automated. Laboratory tests on the comparison of direct method of FFA content determination (acidimetric method) and indirect method of Near-infrared spectroscopy analysis (NIR) were conducted. Studies have indicated that FTIR spectroscopy makes the most convenient technique which determines the content of both FFA and water. However, FTIR spectroscopy is an indirect measurement method which is matrix dependent. Additionally, the detector needs calibration prior to analysis. The selection of the particular method depends on technological process requirements and cost of analysis. During the application of described analytical methods used in the laboratory, no interactions of parameters occurred.

The usefulness of NIR method as the one for FFA content determination was approved. Due to the high investment costs of the NIR method and the financial constraints of investors, the method recommended for application in the Green Box was a direct method with the manual samples retrieving and the use of automatic titration stations.

The process implementation in the Green Box device was also described. NIR method was proven useful as an indirect method for the determination of water content. Due to the high investment costs of the NIR method and the financial constraints of investors, the recommended method for the Green Box was the direct Karl-Fisher’s method with manual samples retrieving and the use of automatic titration stations. Conducted literature studies showed that the on-line techniques for determination of the ash content at the desired level (0.01 %) are not available. However, it was not necessary to use online techniques when taking the criteria of process control into account. The recommended and recognized technique for determination of the ash content is the sample burning and the determination of ash content as sulphated ash by a gravimetric method. This method can be periodically applied to larger batches of raw material and product accumulated in storage tanks. What is most important, dry ashing requires no expensive instruments, and by using balance with high resolution satisfactory precision and accuracy is obtained.

Waste removal
The identification and proposition of available and advantageous methods removal of water, FFA and aches from fatty raw material was done. The study was made in connection with end-user requirements, technical capabilities and give input the Product Design Specifications. Below is a description of the most important effects of this studies.

Water
Water must be removing from waste oil because it will affect the oil’s base stock, encouraging oxidation, viscosity increase and foaming. Water can also by hydrolysis, leading to fatty acids. Water is also a generator of other contaminants in the oil such as waxes, suspensions, carbon and oxide insolubles and even micro-organisms. Several water removing methods were tested and evaluated within the project.

FFA
From the available methods to reduce free fatty acids two method were tested, one of them showed promising results. In the laboratory conditions it was possible to obtain, as desired by the project, a reduction of FFA content of less than 5% and to select optimal parameters for the Green Box device.

Ash
Waste vegetable oils contain varying amounts of minor solid components, which must be removed from waste oil because it would affect the combustion process. During combustion, ash components of the waste vegetable oil become molten and thus readily adhere to metal surfaces. A number of methods or technologies exist to remove ash from waste oil.

The selection of the particular method had to include the analysis of obtained technical parameters, but also the analysis of investment and operating costs connected with the application of a particular analytical method or contaminants reduction process

Integration and purchasing of all process units to develop a fully functional system

A 3d layout was elaborated, based on the process diagram by ICSO from February 2015, revised several times, and finalized in mid 2015.
A 20-foot standard container was chosen as the system housing for the Green Box. Based on the specifications from end-user requirements, laboratory tests and other design criteria, all necessary units were purchased or as standard components or designed and custom- made. The units were then assembled into the container and interconnected with pipes and valves. Signal cables and power supply from pumps, centrifuge, sensors, heating elements and electrical valves were connected to the main control cabinet.
Function- tests of all single units, the subsystems and the overall control system were performed.
Two different modules were integrated into a 20 ft. container – the Green Box. Module 1 - “The water reduction unit” and module 3 - “The ash reduction unit”. The constructed Green Box has a mechanical separation method to remove water from oil, by utilizing the density differences. Several techniques were applied to reduce the ash level. In addition to the process units, the Green Box has its own heating system (for heating the oil up to the required process temperature).

Module 2, containing the FFA reduction unit and specifically required for Bio fuel production, was elaborated and integrated in The Green Box as a theoretical alternative for a post- project version of the Green Box, which could become relevant in case the biodiesel market should improve.

Control system
In order to control the processes and analyse the result a control system was designed and integrated into the Green Box. The system was designed as a standard automation system from the point of view of electrical control, although the peculiarities of the process control made this job more difficult than a standard implementation. Moreover, the electronic central unit was a standard industrial PLC in order to allow SMEs to achieve quick development of the final commercial product according to normal production standard of this kind of machines. The PLC brand final selected was OMRON (Japan), a consolidated and reliable platform both for hardware and software environments.

The control system was designed following the process design and specifications of the Green Box system. The overview of the process consists in a three steps process layout constituted by: water and ash reduction (module 1) and ash reduction (module 3).

Each of the modules are flexible from the control point of view, allowing the central unit to control the single functions for each module. For this reason it was decided to separate the software parts, while a central software control unit would manage the whole system. This design choice affected both the design of the hardware controller and the logical controller. The user interface is user friendly, considering average competence of the personnel that will be involved in use and maintenance, and allowing a fast training for the generic personnel involved on field.

As mentioned the BHO system has two functional modules. The functionalities is been correlated with a sequential logic, according to process needs . Each module has its specific sensor and actuators , in order to have the maximum flexibility during the control decisions, as well as for the improvements and future modifications, this constitute the automatic mode. There is a manual mode implemented, to achieve single testing or arbitrary sequence. The software has been compiled on panel pc hardware, while the controller acts as DATA ACQUISITION CARD communicating via serial port with Industrial PC. Therefore, the supervising unit is a PC, to be connected to the internet and to be controlled in remote mode too.

All the components are in stainless steel and they are calibrated on place according to the ranges, in agreement with the process designer (ICSO) that established the proper working parameters.

Sensors were chosen to achieve the objective explained according to partners responsible of the process specification (ICSO). The environment was considered in terms of temperature, humidity and corrosion factor. So all the sensors are suited in a range of -20 degrees up to 50 degrees, and made in stainless steel.

FFA contents/water in oil meter (initially for FFA content): the sensor chosen for the system was a water in oil [%] sensor, replacing the role of the FFA content device. This is an ESSIFLO water inline sensor, giving a range of water in oil percentage from 0 to 25%, with current analog transmitter 4-20ma.

Temperature meters: These are basic class four A PT100 temperature sensors with -20 to 120 Celsius degrees and -20 to 200 Celsius degrees by OMEGA automation. They are supplied with analogical electrical output of 4-20ma.

Flow meters: In order to measure the flow in the pipes, for the both modules, the FLOMEC flow meters was chosen, which have a range of 1 to 40 litres per minute with oval gear technology. They are electronic board equipped and acquired with 4-20ma output signal.

Pressure meters: The pressure meters are four modules giving a range of 0 to 5 bar and equipped with useful display on board to verify the acquired measure and to check the pressure in the point where they are installed. The resolution in 0.1 bar and its technology allow to a PNP barksdale and to act as a safety switch.

Level meters: Baumer sensors are simple three wires digital level meters, allowing to verify if a level has reached the point where they are installed. They are used in two tanks of the BioheatingOil system, to retrieve the reached low and high levels. The on board led make the user to check the status from the external of the tank and the digital electrical signal allow to acquire by electronic control. As the rest of the system it is equipped with ½ inches arrangement.

Control Unit : Although the system layout was reduced to synthesize the functionalities, the PLC configuration was to be compact, modular and flexible. The needs about master slave diagram, big web interface, system sections was keeped according to original purposes. In this perspective a simple PLC with little configuration was designed and realized, with input output digital and analog modular elements.

The software is a windows executable and as it starts, the layout take the control and display the real sensors values. The default mode is manual so to allow the user to check values, watch the safety conditions and verify the correct magnitudes inside the system. The graphical interface is made of two pages tab control: the first one contains the live plant layout and the second settings for the following:
· Temperature set points
· Safety pressure set point
· Enable button for safety pressure
· File Log button
· Refresh system time
When the user choose the automatic mode the system starts with its programmed logic, that is the right sequence designed by process experts of the Bio Heating Oil consortium, and it finishes with the complete discharge of the material. Pressure safety are implemented in both modality. In manual mode the command are touch, pressing on the software controls widgets.

Tests and evaluation of the test result, for verifying the Green Box
In order to verify the Green Box, some tests were setup to evaluate the system performance in an industrial scale and to confirm the applicability of the Green Box system. Two different tests were carried out, with worst-case scenario of oil feed. The tests showed promising result, showing that both water and ash were under the required level in the end-product (water below 1 % m/m and ash below 0.01 % m/). The mechanical separation of water from oil by utilizing the density differences was proven to be a sufficient technique to reach below the requirements. Several techniques reduced the ash level to far below the required level.

Based on the knowledge gained so far, the Green Box has proved to be an efficient, reliable and robust way to remove water and ash from contaminated oil. Some modifications are recommended to make all modules more cost effective and user-friendly, and to integrate the FFA reduction unit. After the end of the BioHeatingOil project, GCM will continue the work to make the Green Box the preferred solution to a compact upgrading solution of waste - or contaminated oil.

Potential Impact:

The final plan for dissemination consists of a chart of selected activities that has been performed during the BioHeatingOil project. Selected opportunities and tasks fitting the chart have been included in the final dissemination document. Hence, an overview has been assembled, containing the initial areas of attention to obtain opportunities for collaboration, contacts and target groups for dissemination. The target groups identified as most relevant for the BioHeatingOil project are:

Industrial community
The industrial community are one of the biggest potential end user for the BHOs end product the Green Box. Interaction on an early state shows the industrial communities interested in the potential of the Green Box. Both the filtering and the planned FFA unit are value added activities. With ongoing close communication and interaction, the industrial community is expected to introduce GCM with demands regarding functionality and challenging requirements that will shape the way the Green Box will be utilized and future development.

Business partners
A number of business partners have been introduced to the concept and the potential of the Green Box. Demonstration sessions have been held with potential business partners and end users, in depth discussions regarding use of the existing modules and planned FFA unit are being held on an ongoing basis.

For future development the possibility to scale up the end product, the Green Box, to meet the requirements of large-scale fuel producers, has been a discussion amongst the Consortium members. It would be beneficial to a possible commercialization of a large scale model of the Green Box to include partners from the fuel, waste management and renewable energy business in the future.

Potential business partners would be involved to learn of the potential varieties of output the Green Box could produce, to find out if the project has limited it self to a smaller market than what could be achieved with the cooperation with businesses involved in market areas close to what the project so far has mapped.

Research and scientific experts
The initial findings and results made by the RTDs could be of interest to the scientific community, though at this stage not been significant enough for publishing. The knowledge gained through the research being conducted by the RTDs is largely their own asset, but they are obliged to keep other consortium members updated on further development. Cooperation within the consortium are preferred, but outside partnership is possible after clarification with all the members.

Other relevant research projects
There is high potential for further development of the Green Box, both national and international, as is or in connection with other units (such as the FFA). Other relevant European technology platforms and European Energy Clusters are being looked into for further collaboration. From an environmental point of view, the Green Box can play a significant role in lowering carbon dioxide emissions locally, and could also be a contribution to reaching emission goals nationally.

To uncover the different needs of the European communities, the Green Box tuned for the needs of every European country. To have the opportunity to utilize European Energy Clusters and technology platforms as a knowledge base to implement factors not previously know to the project, could prove to be a great advantage before commercialization.

Dissemination Material
An important part of the BioHeatingOil dissemination is the material produced alongside the projects other tasks. Green Cube Management have so far produced:

•Presentation template to be used for all presentations held regarding the project or the Green Box
•Project logo
•Newsletters
•Hand outs
•Press release

Dissemination management
Each of the project partners has supported dissemination of the BioHeatingOil project based on their role, and activities linked to their role in the project. The partner’s primary contribution mainly consists of production of dissemination material as well as:

•Tools to support dissemination activities
•Managing or coordinating the relevant activities that deal with the partners field of work
•Managing the internal inter-organizational dissemination obstacles.
•Organizing, or contributing to the organization of event

The dissemination WP (Green Cube Management) has been responsible for the following spects of the project:
•Coordinating the dissemination activities throughout project, with support of the consortium as a whole.
•Drafting and updating the dissemination plan
•Organizing events
•Making presentations to potential users
•Producing and reporting on dissemination to the Management Board Committee.

Green Cube Management has also been responsible for exploitation, liaison activities and supporting the cooperation with other relevant projects, as well as the presentation of results to the wider user community.

The relevant tool for these activities are mainly electronic means such as the BHO website and project partners mailing lists where this is relevant and appropriate.

Dissemination activities:

Event participation
Participation at relevant events and conferences has proved to be one of the most effective arenas for connecting to potential Green Box end users. Several small and large bio product producers as well as retailers have been present at these events, utilization of company stands and presentations have been an effective way to inform and spark interest.

Presentations
All partners will continue to perform BioHeatingOil related presentations in events for own exploitation and publicity post project. The presentation held by the partner must however still comply with the following:

•Presentations should conform to the EU rules for publications
•The presentations have to be made following the Bio Heating Oil presentation templates
•The Green Box logo should be indicated in the presentation
•Non-public material may by no means be included in the presentation
•The presentation should identify the funding instrument of the project
•All presentations will be made available to Bio Heating Oil – project members
•A presentation template has been produced listing the above, also including some standard slides to be inserted in all consortium presentations of the project.

Publications
Future publications fall into two key categories; Public Relations or Scientific. Both group of partners, SMEs and RTDs, are free to publish within the two categories, but is recommended to bring the most attention to their respective fields of work and the category most fitting to this. The RTDs should focus on scientific publications to the widely known scientific world publications. And the SMEs should focus on publications that cover the topics addressed by the project.

The following guidelines apply to the BioHeatingOil project's publications:
•Scientific publications must be announced to the consortium
•A publication based, fully or partially, on other partners work in the project, should be presented to those partners for consultation prior to its announcement
•Publications should conform to the EU rules for publications
•All publications should refer to the Bio Heating Oil project as their primary supporting action with the following statement: « The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program managed by REA-Research Executive Agency».
•Partners involved in the work being presented should internally approve the published material, by e-mail or by comments on uploaded material on the partner web hub, Basecamp
•The Grant Agreement and the Consortium Agreement shall be respected in all publications

Website
The website administrator (GCM) has been responsible for maintaining a steady flow of information made publicly available through the website. The website will continue to be maintained as long as it is considered pertinent. Besides updates and improvements by the administrator, the consortium members are encouraged to continue to make suggestions on how to improve the site and submit content for publication.

List of Websites:

Contact at GCM: Thomas Steenbuch Tharaldsen, E-mail: thomas@greencube.no | Cell: + 47 41 55 01 21 | Office: + 47 22 83 21 80

Contact

Tharaldsen, Thomas (Project Manager)
Tel.: +47 41 55 01 21
E-mail
Record Number: 184052 / Last updated on: 2016-06-03
Information source: SESAM