The quality of the biodiesel produced in plants constructed by EPC meets the fuel standard EN 14214.

Biodiesel has established itself as a fuel in the market on account of its many advantages and positive environmental properties. Using second generation raw materials, such as jatropha and algae, specifically avoids a conflict of interests with the foodstuffs industry. Biodiesel can be mixed with conventional diesel without any problems. The quality of the biodiesel produced in plants constructed by EPC meets the fuel standard EN 14214.

Biodegradability, the positive CO2 balance in the combustion, and the potential for reducing the amount of CO2 emitted during the production of biodiesel make important contributions towards protecting the environment.

The EPC Group offers its customers complete biodiesel production plants. Their integrated business concept enables byproducts to be exploited materially or energetically. This reduces the amount of waste materials to a minimum or converts them into recyclable products. Cost-effective, efficient logistics and system structures are essential for running a plant profitably. EPC offers plants for receiving, drying and cleaning oilseeds, oil extraction plants, degumming and deacidification plants, transesterification plants, tank farms, as well as the necessarily ancillary and supply facilities. Downstream plants for converting the glycerine phase – created as a byproduct – into pharmaceutical quality glycerine can be integrated into the plant concepts. The capacities of biodiesel plants are adapted to meet the customers' requirements. The size of the raw material and final product storage are also adjusted to match the regional circumstances. A high-quality raw material is required to produce high-quality biodiesel. According to the size of the plant, we can use cold-pressing, hot-pressing or extraction systems to obtain the oil. Cold-pressing systems are suitable for smaller plants producing up to 10,000 tons of oil per year. Hot-pressing systems are used in plants with higher capacities, although they require additional infrastructure, such as a steam generator. Hexane extraction systems are used in plants with a capacity exceeding 100,000 tons of oil per annum. The extraction of the vegetable oil leaves a residue called press cake or extraction residue, the extraction meal. This residue can be marketed as valuable fodder. The glycerine phase formed during the transesterification process is also processed and concentrated to above 80% to create a saleable product.

An additional processing stage can bring the glycerine up to pharmaceutical quality. However, such complex plants are only efficient if the sections of the plant have optimal energetic integration, viable energy recovery, and make full use of the energy supplied. The efficiency of a plant can also be increased by designing the ancillary systems correctly. Our company supplies its customers with efficient, holistic solutions from one source that range up to a central, higher-level control system.

EPC Exclusives

Innovative technologies using trichlorosilane and monosilane

The method of producing ultrapure silicon from metallurgic silicon is based on the thermal decomposition of highly pure, rectified chlorosilanes or silanes to form silicon with the separation and recycling of gaseous byproducts. The conventional commercial technology passes through the stage of producing trichlorosilane in a fluidized-bed reactor from metallurgic grade silicon and hydrogen chloride. The trichlorosilane is then subjected to multi-stage rectification until the purity required for the desired application is reached (solar grade or electronic grade). The thermal decomposition of trichlorosilane in a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) reactor to form silicon at 900 °C creates a mixture of gaseous by-products, which have to be prepared for recycling (vent gas recovery) back into the process. We have optimized the process for producing ultrapure silicon from monosilane. It now offers a significantly higher efficiency as temperatures are only around 600 °C, and the collection efficiency has been increased to almost 100% in comparison to the mere 25% achieved by conventional processes. Monosilane is obtained by the disproportionation of trichlorosilane and recirculation of the disproportionation products. Trichlorosilane is thus required in both methods.

Vent gas recovery plants, including rectification units

The gas mixture produced by the thermal decomposition of trichlorosilane in a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) reactor has to be separated into its constituent parts before the individual products can be recirculated. The monosilane method does not need these cycles, however Vent Gas Recovery is still part of our range or products.

Hazardous substance stores, including monosilane storage and handling systems

The monosilane synthesis gas is stored temporarily in vacuum-insulated containers prior to further processing or filling. The containers are equipped with a pressure build-up vaporizer and an internal cooling coil to facilitate cooling. The containers are a special product of our subsidiary company, CRYOTEC, which specializes in special cryogenic applications.

Process control optimized by fluidized bed reactor technology (FBR plants)

Silicon tetrachloride is the main by-product of both the production of trichlorosilane from metallurgic silicon with HCl in a fluidized-bed reactor and the disproportionation of trichlorosilane. The thermal decomposition of trichlorosilane in a CVD reactor also creates large quantities of silicon tetrachloride. The silicon tetrachloride is converted with hydrogen into trichlorosilane in a conversion reactor. This process can be run homogeneously with hydrogen at approximately 1,000 °C in graphite reactors. We use the more elegant heterogeneous method of controlling the process by feeding silicon into a fluidized-bed reactor.