A discussion with Sky Eye Measurement’s Operations Manager, Kevin Quilichini, on moving green fuel.

With an ever-increasing demand for green fuel and commitment towards sustainability from producers worldwide, we reflect on Sky Eye’s role in the distribution of sustainable fuel. 

Q. What are the different types of green fuel options? Where do they come from?

A. We’ve worked with ethanol since the early days of Sky Eye and continue to do so. In fact, one of the first transloaders we built was designed to blend ethanol with gasoline at a rail site in Northern Alberta. Ethanol is the most common green blending agent used in gasoline and comes from “starch-based crops,” typically corn.

Historically, diesel was just pure, petroleum-based diesel, but we’ve seen a big trend towards using bio-diesel in recent years. Generally, we work with bio-diesel in the form of FAME. FAME stands for “fatty acid methyl esters,” which are essentially just animal fats that would otherwise be disposed of. We take FAME and blend it with highly refined diesel.

Q. How does Sky Eye contribute to green fuel distribution?

A. We’re an essential “cog in the wheel” for green fuel distribution. Our projects are the perfect solution for blending and pumping on a terminal site instead of investing in expensive, permanent infrastructure. Our mobile, modular configurations enable our clients to set up inexpensive, temporary infrastructure to meet their green fuel distribution needs. For example, in situations where a green blending agent is shipped in by rail and we need to blend it with a hydrocarbon from a refinery down the road, we can quickly facilitate an on-site solution lesser price than permanent infrastructure. 

Q. How does Sky Eye’s experience help in the technical design of green fuel transloaders?

A. We have extensive experience configuring blending packages, and we understand the nuances of working with ethanol and bio-diesel. For example, we’ve learned from experience that, especially in a Northern Climate, FAME requires special handling depending on the time of year. Different blending ratios are required throughout the year because bio-diesel coagulates differently depending on temperature. Because of this, equipment selection is key, as your equipment has to handle coagulation. This requires incorporating heat-tracing and insulating into our units to keep product above 4 degrees celsius. 

  Q. Speaking of green fuel, how do Sky Eye products help reduce carbon emissions?

A. We’ve moved to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) rated TR4 generators in all of our packages; TR4 generators are the cleanest-burning generators in the market. The biggest contributor, though, would be that our products are way smaller than a full terminal, which offsets a considerable portion of the carbon emissions generated from the construction of extensive, permanent infrastructure. 

Q. Are you seeing any “trends” for green fuel?

A. The last decade in the energy industry has been one significant shift towards sustainability – we see it daily. Back in the day in North America, we used MTBE, eventually replaced by ethanol. Then, in 07/08, bio-diesel started hitting the mainstream market. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find diesel that isn’t 10% bio-diesel. Ultimately, the demand isn’t decreasing, so we’re offsetting some of the adverse effects by blending in sustainable agents like bio-diesel and ethanol. Producers are setting the stage for a more sustainable future by demonstrating that they can create green fuel sources.

Interested in a project like this for your company? Contact our team to get the right solution for your specific needs.