IOC develops biodiesel coprocessing method

State-owned Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (IOC) has developed and commercialized a technology for coprocessing nonedible vegetable oil in a refinery diesel hydrotreating unit to make biodiesel.

During development of the method it also created a process for demetallization and degumming of vegetable oils.

IOC demonstrated the technology at the 190,000-b/d Chennai Petroleum Corp. Ltd. Refinery at Manali. Chennai Petroleum is part of the IOC group.

The refinery’s diesel hydrotreating unit, operating with a specific catalyst developed by IOC’s research and development center, used up to 6.5% of jatropha oil with the refinery stream.

The company ran 200 tonnes of jatropha oil supplied by CREDA Biofuels Ltd., a joint venture of IOC and Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Authority.

During the trial, IOC said, the diesel cetane number improved by 2 units, sulfur content diminished, and the inlet temperature of the reactor could be reduced by 100º C.

IOC said its coprocessing technology yields biodiesel with a higher cetane number, better oxidation stability, and lower density than biodiesel produced via conventional transesterification, which requires a separate plant. It said its coprocessing method, which can be deployed in existing refineries with minor modifications, has an operating cost about 50% lower than that of conventional biodiesel facilities.

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