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ATEX process package for bio-diesel production

25 June 2010

Bürkert Fluid Control Systems has partnered with Green Fuels, a leading biodiesel equipment manufacturer,to provide a package of ATEX- rated valves, flow sensors, level switches, positioner systems and conductivity and flow meters, for Green Fuels’ Fuelmatic system.

ATEX process package for bio-diesel production
ATEX process package for bio-diesel production

Designed to produce up to 20,000 litres per day of the highest quality biodiesel, the fully automated Fuelmatic is skid- mounted for ease of shipping and installation.

It is attracting worldwide interest, with the 20th Fuelmatic currently being commissioned Mexico.

UK-based Green Fuels designs and manufactures a range of affordable processing equipment that produces bio-diesel for small-scale, domestic usage - right up to commercial production levels. The advanced technology integrated into Green Fuel’s systems enables customers to produce their own high quality biodiesel inexpensively and safely for use as a sustainable road transport fuel. The success of these systems can be judged from the fact that there are currently more than 6,500 Green Fuels and Green Fuels America processors worldwide. Between them they produce more than 350 million litres of biodiesel every year.

Despite its success, Green Fuels is constantly updating its systems to produce biodiesel more efficiently. The latest system to undergo this process is the Fuelmatic, a unit for medium scale commercial production of high quality biodiesel. Designed to produce up to 20,000 litres a day, the Fuelmatic offers key advantages in that, as a skid mounted unit, it can easily be transported to the source of the feedstock material from which biodiesel is produced. This flexibility contrasts favourably with larger fixed biodiesel plants, where feedstock has to be transported to a central location, a process that is costly, and, in view of the emissions from the many trucks required to transport the feedstock, non-ecological.

In its re-design of the Fuelmatic, Green Fuels stipulated working with a single source for the supply of all valves, sensors, flow meters and positioners, et al. However, this posed a problem, as all the products had to be ATEX- approved EeX lA devices, powered via safety barriers.

In addition to finding a company with the required products, Green Fuels also required the supplier to provide technical support and expertise to assist in the integration of the ATEX equipment into the re-designed Fuelmatic.

A solution to both of these requirements was provided by Burkert, who had worked with Green Fuels on a previous project. Burkert offers what is one of the widest range of ATEX products on the process market, and can point to a successful history of working with customers that need development input, from consultancy to system design and manufacture, through to installations and testing. "At Burkert we like to develop a relationship with our customers that extends throughout the entire project, rather that simply acting as a component supplier," said Neil Saunders Sales Manager of Bürkert Fluid Control Systems.

The fully automated Fuelmatic is controlled by a PLC which interfaces seamlessly with Burkert’s 8640 pneumatic valve islands. These units are built to specific requirements, and save space by providing for the actuation of up to 24 valves on compact modular backplanes. The Type 8640 provides users with a combination of pilot valves I/O modules and Fieldbus communications for the control of the widest range of process valves.

On the redesigned Fuelmatic the 8640 system provides actuation of Burkert pneumatic angle seat, globe and diaphragm valves, all with Type 1062 electric feedback switches, and the Type 2712 modulating globe valve with ATEX electro-pneumatic positioner. In addition, completing the package are ATEX- approved flow and displacement sensors, vibrating level switch, positive displacement flow meters and a conductivity transmitter.

Commenting upon Burkert’s role in the re-designed Fuelmatic project, James Hygate, MD for Green Fuels, said: "Burkert has proved to be the ideal partner on this project. It has met all of our requirements in terms of a well known supplier with global reach allied to local service. Burkert was able to meet our demand for a single source supplier across a wide range of ATEX equipment, and at a cost that was in the realms of reality."

"The company is a willing and highly knowledgeable partner with the quality and experience that we needed to ensure the new Fuelmatic met all the required standards and achieved the improved performance that we demanded from it."

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