An independent Centrifuge Optimisation Project at one of Europe’s largest Biodiesel plants has enabled them to produce record levels of biodiesel and pharma grade glycerine.
The optimisation exercise significantly improved the throughput & efficiency of their disc bowl, three-phase solid bowl decanter and solid bowl decanter centrifuges. This has also resulted in major operational and cost benefits being realised for the whole processing plant.
Following difficult plant commissioning issues the plant was struggling to meet client demands for their core product and bi-products. This resulted in them deciding to concentrate their efforts on the primary separation i.e. the centrifuges. The biodiesel plant requires key separation stages to be carried out by various types of continuous sedimentary centrifuges.
The plant was struggling to meet the plant design capacity. To achieve this it was necessary to increase the throughput to the centrifuges as well as maintaining higher levels of centrifuge ‘up time’.
With over 35 years of experience, specialising in Industrial Centrifuge separation technology, NCD Separation Solutions Ltd, acted as lead consultants for the Centrifuge Optimisation Project. They carried out an initial comprehensive Site Survey then submitted proposals for a comprehensive Process Optimisation programme.
Operator Training was also a key consideration in order to make plant operatives aware of the important parameters and how they play their part in the separation efficiency of the centrifuges. This provided them with much needed knowledge of all the centrifuge controls, capabilities and limitations as well as demonstrating the importance of maintaining a uniform feed stock.
Significant cost savings were identified through the implementation of an improved control and operational philosophy. It was also possible to operate all the centrifuges, as intended, in a continuous manner with virtually no unplanned shutdowns. This has allowed the plant, as intended, to operate on a continuous basis.
From a health and safety perspective the improved operation of the centrifuge processing equipment has dramatically reduced the frequency of inspections and cleaning outs.
According to management the result of the optimisation work by NCD Separation Solutions Ltd – “has seen an amazing 30% increase in production that now allows us to not only achieve our production targets of Biodiesel, but to significantly exceed them as and when the market demands. As a general spin off from NCD’s involvement we now have a separation process that is more reliable, requires less maintenance, is operator friendly and we have a far more informed workforce”.