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  • Julio Canever

The importance of supply-chain resilience in biodiesel production

Evonik's sodium methylate production facility in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo: Evonik)

The total production capacity of biofuels is growing in the U.S. Biodiesel, blended into almost all diesel fuel sold within the country, has been a pillar for on-road decarbonization. Government incentives and requirements encourage its production, sale and use.

 

Internationally, biodiesel has seen growth in established and emerging economies, with consumption expected to expand significantly in countries such as Brazil and Indonesia.

 

In such a dynamic environment, a resilient, efficient and transparent supply chain is critical.

 

The benefits of biodiesel

There are multiple reasons for the growing demand for biofuels, including higher energy costs, depleting fossil-fuel resources, the negative environmental impact of fossil fuels and consumer demand. Government policies are also forcing energy systems to utilize more renewable sources.

 

One such source is biodiesel, a biodegradable, nontoxic fuel that can be used in existing diesel engines. It is nonhazardous, as well as easier to transport, store and handle. Additionally, it boasts fewer greenhouse-gas emissions.

 

To create biodiesel, oils and fats undergo transesterification and require the right catalysts. In this process, methanol is added to these oils and fats along with a small quantity of alkaline catalysts—although dosages are low, the performance of these catalysts is key to biodiesel yield. The most effective catalysts for this are alkoxides, including sodium methylate 30 percent solution in methanol (NM30) and potassium methylate 32 percent solution in methanol (KM32).

 

Alongside the rise of biodiesel, there has been a growing demand for alkoxides catalysts used for life-sciences and performance applications over the past several years. To support these markets, Evonik Catalysts relies on production sites in the U.S., Argentina and Germany (in exclusive partnership with ICIG until the end of 2027). A new production plant is under construction in Singapore that will shortly join our global network reinforcing our strategy to supply the main markets locally.

 

The importance of a resilient supply chain

Extensive and interconnected, biodiesel’s supply chain spans multiple steps and incorporates numerous businesses, corporations and regulations. Even when simplified, it can involve:

 

  • Biomass production (cultivating and harvesting).


  • Pretreating (cleaning, drying, sieving, thermal operation, other preparations).


  • Feedstock storage.


  • Biofuel conversion.


  • Biofuel distribution.


  • Biofuel utilization.

 

In comparison to conventional industrial supply-chain networks, the biofuel supply chain is regarded to be more vulnerable to risks due to substantial uncertainties and disruptions associated with different parameters such as feedstock, conversion processes, demand rate, and the price of crude oil.

 

As the market evolves, this supply chain needs to evolve as well to accommodate changing customer needs and external factors. Crucial to this is access to accurate information and reliable supply-chain management.

 

Information sharing enhances buyer and supplier commitment and their interconnection. It allows for increased visibility, increased organizational efficiency and improved services, early problem detection, quick response and better tracing and tracking of the elements required throughout the process—including catalysts.

 

Digitalizing information sharing increases efficiency in the supply chain, optimizes inventory management, enhances predictive adjustments as well as streamlines logistics.

 

Track & Trace systems

Evonik Catalysts’ alkoxides supply chain starts with a modern, AI-driven order system where most customers’ orders are automatically processed by artificial intelligence into our order-processing systems until fulfilment. When fulfilled, Track & Trace begins, allowing customers to monitor the order in its entirety once dispatched.

 

This system is an effective and new tool that has been made available to further improve our services offering for the North American market and, in the future, beyond. With the 24/7 nature of the business and wider market, Track & Trace efficiently serves local and global customers. Critical information can be accessed in real-time regardless of location—prioritizing transparency, efficiency and customer satisfaction within supply-chain operations.

 

Offering a comprehensive view of the process revolutionizes how customers monitor shipments with enhanced visibility now available. This includes updates, automated routing and service-risk predictions to further strengthen supply-chain resilience.

 

In turn, this greatly helps Evonik Catalysts to optimize inventory management, production schedules and customer notifications, as well as allowing shippers to act quickly and minimize the impact of disruptions.

 

Conclusion

Uncertainties and disruptions can be a significant challenge in today’s business landscape. Because of this, customers expect—and deserve—transparency and efficiency.

 

Offering systems like Evonik’s Track & Trace puts our customer needs at center stage, ensuring a smooth supply-chain process and generating significant added value.

 

While these services streamline and increase supply-chain effectiveness, we also believe in personal contact. Our dedicated team of business managers and customer-service specialists are ready to step in and act to best serve our valued business partners.





Author: Julio Canever

Business Director, NA PL Alkoxides

Evonik Catalysts

973-307-6341

1 comment

1 Kommentar


sob adiet
sob adiet
26. Juni

Globally, biodiesel has seen dordle growth in both developed and developing nations, and it is anticipated that its use would notably increase in countries like Brazil and Indonesia.

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