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Argent Energy to construct glycerin refinery at Port of Amsterdam biodiesel plant

Argent Energy's biodiesel plant in at the Port of Amsterdam is undergoing a major expansion, which, once complete, will produce much more crude glycerin. (Photo: Argent Energy)

Argent Energy, a leading European manufacturer of biodiesel in the U.K. and the Netherlands, has begun groundworks for construction of a glycerin refinery in the Port of Amsterdam that will produce 50,000 tons of refined glycerin per year.

With this construction, the company is expanding its portfolio of sustainable products and will be entering the chemical market for the first time.

Aligned with Argent Energy’s vision to reduce the world’s carbon footprint by turning waste into valuable products, Argent will be transforming a natural byproduct of the biodiesel process into a technical-grade product suitable for the chemical industry.

Argent’s new venture and expansion plans reflect the increased worldwide demand to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources.

The producer is due to scale up biodiesel production in Amsterdam five-fold from 30 million gallons per year (mgy) to 162 mgy, consequently increasing glycerin production.

Crude glycerin is recognized by the Renewable Energy Directive II (2009/28/EC) as a processing residue, generated as a byproduct during the production of biodiesel.

The uses of crude glycerin are limited due to its contaminants: water, salts, and MONG (matter organic nonglycerol). However, Argent Energy’s decision to invest in a state-of-the-art glycerin refinery using technology and equipment provided by Andreotti Impianti of Florence, Italy, will upgrade the renewable crude glycerin created from the biodiesel process into a high-purity sustainable chemical that will have better value applications across industry.

Argent will produce 99.7 percent pure refined glycerin suitable for a wide range of technical applications. It could be used to produce ethylene glycol or propylene glycol to act as antifreeze, and could be used as a plasticizer agent for the production of polymers such as plastics and foams.

Argent’s refined glycerin can also be used for the production of epichlorohydrin, a main component for the creation of epoxy resins.

The facility is due to start production of technical-grade glycerin in December 2023. The state-of-the-art glycerin refinery will include distillation and polishing to achieve a high-purity product of 99.7 percent.

There will also be dedicated tanks, pipelines and loading bays to avoid cross-contamination.

“This refining facility will help add real value to what is a standard processing residue with limited applications,” said Erik Rietkerk, CEO of Argent Energy. “It will also help reduce carbon emissions in industrial processes where refined glycerin is an important component. Together with our upcoming five-fold increase of FAME production capacity, the construction of this glycerin refinery shows our strong belief that waste-based biodiesel will remain a crucial part of decarbonization in transport and other industries for decades to come.”

Lorenzo Petruzzi, commercial director of Andreotti Impianti, added, “In line with our brand mark, ‘Sharing Your Values,’ the satisfaction of our customers is Andreotti’s top priority, so we are very pleased to be partnering with such an innovating company as Argent Energy and providing significant added value to the glycerin side-streams from their biodiesel production.”

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