Enzymatic Biodiesel


Piedmont Enzymatic Pilot Plant


Want to learn more about the FAeSTER enzymatic biodiesel process ?

Contact Rachel Burton at 919-444-3495.




  • Multi-Feedstock Capability
  • High Value, Clean Glycerol
  • Reusable Catalyst
  • Energy Efficient
  • No Caustic Catalysts or Strong Acids Required
  • Eliminate Soap and Waste Water
  • Lower Capital Investment
  • “Scale Neutral” – Works at Large of Small Scale
  • Bolt-On to Existing Infrastructure

Piedmont Biofuels commissioned the first enzymatic biodiesel plant of its kind in the United States in July 2010. Piedmont Biofuels developed this innovative, sustainable, scale neutral biodiesel technology in cooperation with Novozymes to produce high quality biodiesel using enzymatic catalysis.

Esterification…Cheaper, Better, FAeSTER!

  • Results in low FFA, dry feedstock ready for transesterification
  • Fully continuous, bolt-on process
  • Easy, low temperature system converts up to 100% FFA to less than 1% FFA
  • Very low methanol use, no acidic methanol created.
  • Low capital cost, same equipment also used as part of an enzymatic transesterification system

The FAeSTER (Fatty Acid eSTERification) enzymatic biodiesel process will allow you to utilize feedstocks with high free fatty acids, even as high as 100% FFA.  Immobilized enzymes catalyze the esterification reaction quickly, without forming hazardous side-products like acidic methanol.  The enzymes are reusable for months before replacement, and the equipment is small and simple enough to be used in existing plants with little or no further modification.

The technology has been proven both in the lab and on the pilot scale.  The first full scale, continuous plant using the FAeSTER process at our own production facility in Pittsboro, NC.

Are you Ready for… enzymatic transesterification- WE ARE!


Enzymatic vs Traditional Glycerol

Traditional Chemical (left) vs Enzymatic Glycerol (right)

  • Creates 99.6% pure glycerin after moisture and methanol removal
  • No caustic catalysts and no soap formed, reduces or eliminates water washing, ion exchange, and adsorbants.
  • Low temperature, low energy process
  • Very low methanol use

As competition for fats and oils grows from other types of alternative fuels like green diesel, the survival of biodiesel as a diesel fuel substitute will depend on process efficiency.  In particular, producers needs to cut costs and increase revenues to keep as much of the value at the producer level as possible.  The greatest opportunity today in increasing that value is the creation of a high quality glycerol on-site.  Technical glycerol is 3 – 5 times more valuable than even so-called “refined” biodiesel glycerol (80% pure), while USP grade is 10 – 15 times more valuable.  Added value to the glycerol will keep biodiesel producers competitive by creating a co-product which is as or more valuable than the biodiesel itself.

We achieved ASTM quality fuel from yellow grease and soybean oil feedstocks using immobilized enzymes on the pilot scale, and we have tested the resulting glycerin at 99.6% purity after methanol and moisture removal.

We are now ready to work with you on enzymes for transesterification too!

Working with us…

We are seeking interested partners to operate the first commercial units.  Biodiesel producers who have high FFA feedstocks, like brown grease, fatty acid distillates, algae oil, corn oil from DDGs, jatropha oil, yellow grease, or high FFA animal fats can send us samples to test using our enzymatic process.  Contact Rachel to have your feedstock tested using an enzymatic production process.

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