px Biodiesel

Operations at the two Greenergy biodiesel production facilities at the port of Immingham on the East coast of England are handled by px Biodiesel Ltd.

With a combined capacity of 200,000 tonnes/228 million litres a year, both biodiesel plants are located on a brown­field site at Immingham West Terminal which has existing sea, rail and road access as well as pipeline links to local petroleum oil refineries. Its sea­fed location enables effective logistics and trading with the UK and European vegetable oil and biodiesel markets as well as the wider world vegetable oil markets.

The plants are capable of using a variety of feedstocks including rapeseed, soy, palm and used cooking oils. A mix of different feedstocks is used to get the best balance of quality, price, carbon and environmental impact. Optimum management of this highly complex and innovative process requires a deep understanding of the production variables. To assist in understanding how these interact to affect plant performance, the company has invested in the MS2 Process Diagnostics System from AJM Consulting.

Data sets acquired by the Wonderware control systems are analysed by MS2 using a unique combination of advanced diagnostic algorithms and visualisation techniques. The knowledge gained is used by the plant management and technologists to increase the yield and quality performance of the plants.

"We recognised during plant commissioning that there were substantial opportunities for performance improvement to be achieved by identifying the causes of subtle variability in this complex production process. It was clearly a situation in which many variables interact, so we knew that we required a tool that could handle multivariate problems.

We initially assessed the MS2 system by applying it to a known issue and it proved that it could identify and visualise the cause. We have now invested in the system and are using its powerful multivariate visualisation functions to further identify the opportunities to reduce variability, enabling us to optimise the profitability of the manufacturing operation."

Martin Milburn, px Biodiesel