ABSTRACT

In the world of renewable energy technologies that include biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind, biofuels afford mankind a hydrocarbon-to-carbohydrate energy transition route to "grow oil" and lower global energy dependence on fossil fuels.

With a focus on the protective coatings industry, technical challenges and lessons learned are reviewed with respect to renewable feedstocks used to make biofuels. To achieve long-term corrosion protection in the vapor space and immersed zones of above ground storage tanks, the "attack molecules" of free fatty acids (FFAs) in the feedstocks are discussed in light of the "defense molecules" of single coat, or multi-coat, epoxy or vinyl ester linings. Modes of lining failures are outlined.

The results of accelerated laboratory testing of epoxy and vinyl ester linings are presented. The ramifications of chemical composition, temperature, and water content of feedstocks on high performance lining performance is discussed.

Functional specifications for judiciously selected linings are proposed for the biofuel industry for renewable feedstock storage, handling and shipment in both maintenance and new construction projects.

INTRODUCTION

A biofuel can be described as any fuel where bio-based renewables like oils and fats, organic waste, crops like corn or sugar cane, and algae, etc., are used as precursor feedstocks.

Increasingly, the production of biofuels from biomass is very much part of a global impetus for an energy transition to a "carbon neutral" world. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint and ensure that sustainable energy from bio-based feedstocks realistically lowers reliance on energy produced from fossil fuels.

Whilst there are many sources of renewables for energy such as bioethanol, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind, and hydrogen, the focus in this paper is on biomass from oils and fats, and biodiesel, or renewable diesel. Biodiesel is a mono-alkyl ester produced by a transesterification process whereas renewable diesel is produced by hydrotreating, gasification, pyrolysis and other biochemical technologies (1).

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