The Closed Local Loop Biodiesel Production System ("CLL")

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Overview

Springboard Biodiesel’s closed local loop biodiesel production system, called the CLL-1000 (“CLL”) is designed as a zero-waste, integrated, automated, multi-modular processing system.   Based on proprietary technology, the CLL system is designed as a fully functional and franchise-ready small-scale biodiesel production facility that will allow a variety of owner/operators to produce the highest quality biodiesel from the lowest priced, regionally sourced feedstock. 

 

Springboard’s CLL is designed around the concept that local, small-scale biodiesel production represents an attractive and underserved market opportunity.   In the production of biodiesel, the cost of feedstock represents the largest cost to the producer, and because the most common, widely available feedstock sources are farmed crops such as soy, canola and palm oil – all more expensive in their raw form than the diesel fuel they are processed to replace – the commercial price of biodiesel has historically been higher than that of diesel fuel.  More recently, the biodiesel industry has looked to less expensive feedstock sources, such as used cooking oil (“UCO”)

 

Springboard’s CLL makes 100% of its biodiesel from used cooking oil. The system will process multiple types of feedstock, however, and will create a cost advantage to the producer by locating the entire system at the source of the local, low cost feedstock. 

 

Specifically, the CLL can process any vegetable and/or animal oil that is less than or equal to 10% Free Fatty Acid (“FFA”).  FFA% is the measure of an organic oil’s degradation – the higher the number, the less that can be done to process it.  The CLL’s 10% capability allows for a wider variety of feedstock sources than existing small-scale systems.  Importantly, the feedstock flexibility allows for meaningful cost advantages to the user, as it can be placed near UCO collection facilities, chicken processing plants, fish processing plants and/or large farming operations (such as rice mills in N. CA.).  The physical proximity to the locally available feedstock and the subsequent “locally produced; locally consumed” nature of the CLL-produced biodiesel ensures that the owner/operator of the CLL will be making biodiesel with the lowest possible cost base.

 

The Company’s goal is to locate defined CLL “nodes” throughout California and beyond and network these nodes via an emerging franchise network which will benefit from Springboard’s ongoing process and technological improvements, price discounts available to the growing network and a robust service capability that will assure maximum uptime for members of the Springboard Biodiesel Network (“SBN”).

 

Springboard’s CLL installation is located at 2323 Park Avenue, Suite 125 in Chico, California and is designed to produce 1,000 gallons of ASTM-D6751, B-100 biodiesel per 9 hour day and can be scaled up to make more based on available feedstock. 

 

The footprint is compact - set within a 60’ x 80’ dedicated production area with an additional 2,500 square feet of dedicated outdoor tank storage space and required spill containment.  Because the system is a fully closed loop system, with all separate production modules connected via industry standard pipe plumbing, and with all electrical connections appropriately grounded, it enables automated processing within the safest possible processing environment, assuring high quality fuel with a minimum of cost.

 

Specifications of the CLL system:

 

  • Process 1,000 gallons per day (extendible to 1,500 gallons if a second work shift is added)
  • Compact footprint – less than 4,000 sq. ft. (1,200 sq. meters)
  • Process veg/animal oil with a FFA percentage of up to 10% (vs. the 5% FFA that the Company’s family of BioPro™ can process)
  • Eliminates over 7MM lbs. of CO2 annually
  • Creates 525,000 Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS – currently trading in a range of $0.85-$0.90 per RIN – USA only)[1]
  • Potential to recapture glycerin of 85%+ purity (additional revenue stream)
  • Waste-free production and recaptured process ingredients (methanol) assures lowest cost of production
  • No water used
  • Turnkey system with automated processing and redundant process controls
  • Repeatable ASTM-D6571 results
  • Proprietary design with multiple patentable aspects
  • System allows for rapid payback and compelling project IRR

 

In mid-2012, Springboard was awarded a matching grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) of $758,200.  The grant was awarded under the CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, and has helped establish the Company’s first production CLL in Chico, CA.  The structure of the grant enables the company to be reimbursed for several key aspects of the overall system, including all feedstock and chemical costs necessary to make 162,000 gallons of biodiesel.   At current market prices, this will enable Springboard to produce up to $800K of 100% gross margin fuel over the course of the grant, which ends in September 2014[2] .

 

The Company is not aware of a comparably functional small-scale biodiesel processing system, and is optimistic that this "feature set" will be well received in its target markets.

 

Modular Design Ensures Customer Flexibility:

 

The CLL has been designed as a modular system that can be customized to the specific requirements (capacity) of the operator.  The Company’s base configuration will be 1,000 gallons per day in a two-shift (or staggered single shift) work schedule.  This can be increased or halved, depending on the operator’s economic model and feedstock access.  Below is a description of each of the modules:

 

Coarse Storage:  The basic system is designed to produce 1,000 gallons over the course of 24 hours and necessitates a 9 hour work day – load first 500 gallons in the morning and the next 500 gallons before leaving for the evening.

 

It is assumed that the operator will store approximately 1 week’s worth of raw veg. oil and 1 week’s worth of finished biodiesel and will store 3,500 gallons of methanol (assuring bulk pricing disounts).  The raw veg oil will arrive at the facility at 10% or less FFA, 2% MIU.

 

Pre-processing Unit:  This further processes the oil, heating it up to 200ºF and dramatically reducing the MIU.

 

First Oil Buffer:          This is a 700 gallon tank that is continuously filled by the Pre-processing unit and emptied into the four (4) 125 gallon reactor units every 8 hours.

 

Reactor Units:                        Under vacuum the oil (up to 10% FFA) is heated and then reacted into raw biodiesel and glycerin.  During the reaction the Reactors are interfacing with a large condensing unit that is simultaneously condensing methanol and water vapors (all recaptured methanol is re-purified and re-used in subsequent batches)

 

Waterless Filtration Prep Units:                    Similar to the Company’s SpringPro™ T76, these dual column filtration units treat the raw biodiesel prior to introduction to the Demethylation Skid.  The media is relatively inexpensive, focused on the removal of soaps and other non-methanol related trace contaminants, and safely land-fillable upon exhaustion.

 

Demethylation Skid:  Comprised of three (3) separate modules, this skid will remove the trace methanol from the glycerin, leaving the glycerin at approximately 90% purity and producing as a by-product salt (NaCl) and high FFA% oil that will later be used as a source of heat (in-line boiler); it will remove the methanol from the raw biodiesel – without the use of water.  This skid is comprised of the BD-380, the G-190 and the MC-12

 

Post Processing Unit:  The unfinished biodiesel is circulated through a post processing system, enabling a final “polish” and ensuring ASTM cold-soak compatibility

 

Methanol Recovery Unit:       This is a purification station that will take the recovered “dirty” methanol and return it to 99.8+% purity, enabling a lower cost of goods for the next batch of biodiesel.

 

System Integration Module:   The entire system is fully automated, with redundant process controls and the ability to remotely monitor the systems during operation

 

The CLL’s processing flexibility, environmental impact and rapid economic benefits create an excellent platform upon which to rapidly build a large network of, local biodiesel production facilities, both in the US and internationally.



[1] Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) are a type of carbon currency that is monitored and managed by the EPA under the 2010 Renewable Fuels Standard – 2 (RFS-2).  This is a mature market and not dependent on renewals by any political body.

[2] The Company expects to be producing “subsidized” biodiesel throughout 2014, depending on the initial ramp-up, as it is able to purchase and be reimbursed for UCO-futures.