Update on the Biodiesel Plant
November 14, 2011
The continuous biodiesel plant developed by Joel Nwakaire was scaled up to 100 liters per hour, from 30 liters originally. A software called Nwakaire Joel's Biodiesel Plant Scale Up Software has also been developed, and designed to accelerate the plant scaling up process.
The next breakthrough is the completion of the automation control. Indeed, a micro-processor was used to program the controls using solenoid valves and temperature sensors.
Another feature of this fully automated and optimized biodiesel plant is that the automated control can record any reaction temperature, reaction time and flow time from any of the 4 gates.
The Completed Engineering Design from the Scalability Software
The Circuit Diagram for the Design of an Automated Microprocessor Based Process
March 24, 2010
While a staff and student at the University of Nigeria, Joel Nwakaire designed and developed a plant to produce bio-diesel. Joel Nwakaire has specialized in Power and Machine System Engineering and holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree.
When he was about to work on his B.Eng. project, he was advised by professor A.P. Onwualu, the current DG of Raw Materials Research and Development Council in Nigeria, to focus on cutting edge research using vegetable oil to power diesel engine. In order to produce the bio-diesel fuel based on his research, Joel Nwakaire had to design a production plant to refine vegetable oil; a plant he calls Bio-diesel Continuous Production Plant. This plant required the manufacture of a vegetable oil tank, a reactant tank, a reactor and a separator, among others (heating, mixing and separation systems…). The various systems were carefully designed and selected after applying physics and mathematical knowledge.
The plant was tested with benniseed oil (sesame oil) and palm kernel oil. The fuels produced met with international standards of ASTM and United States Soydiesel Development Board. The plant has a production capacity of about 30 liters per hour. Joel Nwakaire and his supervisor, Professor C.O. Akubuo of the Department of Agricultural & Bioresources Engineering, University of Nigeria (Nsukka), are currently working on the optimization of the plant. This involves the automation of the system, development of a process model equation and scaling up of the existing plant to 100 liters per hour. Recently, they have successfully produced algae oil and used it to produce algae biodiesel. The plant is portable and replicable at minimal cost because only local materials such as steel, pumps, etc. were used; thus simplifying its mechanical system.
The bio-diesel produced by the plant powers motor engines and other mechanical engines. Joel Nwakaire is using his own bio-diesel fuel to run his own diesel car. Bio-diesel is more effective than fossil diesel in terms of caloric value (combustion rate), flash point, etc. In other words, bio-diesel burns faster and the lubrication of the engine is higher. Bio-diesel, therefore, is both a fuel and a lubricant.
Bio-diesel fuel does not necessarily need to be produced with consumable vegetables as non-consumable vegetables such as Jatropha and algae can be used instead. These two vegetables do not require the use of fertile land to grow. This means that in Africa, contrary to other parts of the world, there is no need to invest in consumable vegetables to produce bio-diesel. Consumable vegetables must be reserved to feed Africans.
Joel Nwakaire has received an award in the Young Professionals in Science Competition category organized by the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He won the first prize in this category.
The First Window above is the Welcome Screen for the Scalability Software for the biodiesel plant.
The Second Window is the Sub Window for selection of tank capacities, heater capacity and pump size.