Proving out Supercritical Processing

Posted on: May 13th, 2011
Source: Biodiesel Magazine
Proving out Supercritical ProcessingBy Luke Geiver
Interviews with Christina Borgese and Marc Privitera

When BioFuelBox, the biodiesel process technology company that designed, built and ran a 1 MMgy biodiesel facility in Idaho based on the principles of the supercritical process—high pressure and high temperatures—won the 2010 Technology Pioneer award from the World Economic Forum, one could argue that a new beginning in biodiesel production methods for alternative feedstocks was set. After all, look at the success of some of the previous winners, most you've probably heard of. In 2010, along with BioFuelBox, the social media company Twitter received the same award. In 2007, it was Mozilla and, in 2006, Amryis Biotechnologies received the award. If these don't make a compelling case that the supercritical process for biodiesel production was well on its way to becoming the norm after the 2010 award, consider the winners in 2002, Google and PayPal.


“We took a technology that had been done in labs, and we took it to full scale,” says Christina Borgese, former senior engineer for BioFuelBox. “We were selling product to a corporation that said we had the best biodiesel they’d ever seen.” Unfortunately, that World Economic Forum award didn’t come with a guarantee for future economic prosperity, and today, BioFuelBox is no more, a victim of an extremely difficult financial climate seen in 2010 within the biodiesel industry: an innovative company all but forgotten. Borgese, who says “it was a big accomplishment to have scaled supercritical beyond the lab bench,” is now co-founder, senior engineer and president of PreProcess Inc., along with her partner and other co-founder Marc Privitera, who was also formerly on the BioFuelBox team.

Instrumentation, Automation, and Control Applications in a Supercritical Biodiesel Process

Posted on: March 14th, 2011
Source: American Institute of Chemical Engineers

AIChE Spring Meeting - Chicago, IL

Presented by Marc Privitera, PE - PreProcess, Inc.

Biorefining Technology Scale-up

Posted on: February 17th, 2011
Source: Biorefining Magazine
Biorefining Magazine March CoverBy Marc Privitera and Christina Borgese

There are few things more satisfying in a chemical engineer’s career than when the first drop of at-rate, at-cost, on-spec product comes off a commercial-scale system. That first drop is the culmination of tireless efforts to scale up from idea to reality, and declares you the champion for that moment.

Scale up begins by defining the factors, levels and responses captured from the bench development effort. A factor is a controllable variable, or knob, that can be turned to a level, or set-point. The response is the characteristic product measurement resulting from the factor at a specific set-point. In feedstock characterization, a common factor is the moisture content, the level is the specific moisture percentage tested in the process system, and the response is the ultimate affect on product conversion.  A designed experiment is a series of tests measuring factor interaction at varying levels to extract meaningful correlations on response affects. This allows an engineer to set boundary limits on both incoming streams and process run conditions for the operators to follow to insure on-spec product.

Factors and responses are measurements that require validated test methods to ensure that decision making information is based on statistically proven repeatability and accuracy against a known standard.

Combinational Multi-Feedstock Biorefining

Posted on: January 11th, 2011
Source: BBI International

Pacific West Biomass Conference - Seattle, WA

Presented by Christina Borgese, PreProcess, Inc.

Landfills to Fuel Tanks - Feedstocks that Drive America

Posted on: November 4th, 2010
Source: BBI International

Southeast Biomass Conference - Atlanta, GA

Presented by Christina Borgese, PreProcess, Inc.

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