Case Studies

Autodesk Helps General Biodiesel Cost-Effectively Expand Operations

General Biodiesel, a clean tech company focused on converting used cooking oil into low-carbon biofuel, used Digital Prototyping and piping and instrumentation diagramming (P&ID) software from Autodesk, Inc. to expand and make process improvements to its main production facility. The company estimates that it saved more than $500,000 on the plant upgrade project.

As part of its plant improvements, General Biodiesel used Autodesk Inventor and AutoCAD P&ID software to design a sophisticated pre-treatment system that enables higher yields from converting used cooking oil into fuel. This pre-treatment system helps produce exceptionally clean-burning fuel and is one of the lowest carbon diesel alternatives available on the market, offering 85 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than conventional petroleum diesel.

The Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program—which provides software for emerging clean tech companies in North America and Europe—enabled General Biodiesel to combine Digital Prototyping technology with AutoCAD-based P&ID design to efficiently implement this state-of-the-art biodiesel production process within its plant. Autodesk partner IMAGINiT helped to provide the training to ensure successful deployment of the products.

3D Imagery and Streamlined Process Design Accelerates Upgrade

General Biodiesel’s designers used AutoCAD P&ID software to plan the facility upgrade, helping to enable faster and more detailed piping and instrumentation diagrams with more complete visualization of the project layout. The company also used AutoCAD P&ID to generate the bill of materials, making for more accurate reports and saving money through greater efficiency. Autodesk Inventor software helped the company produce compelling 3D digital prototypes of the plant and equipment to quickly visualize and explore the viability of proposed changes.

“Autodesk software was extremely helpful in streamlining and organizing our processes,” said Cameron Hewes, president and chief financial officer at General Biodiesel. “Using Autodesk Inventor and AutoCAD P&ID helped us design and make real-time incremental process changes that improved efficiency and throughput for our plant. By creating process flow diagrams, bill of materials and piping and instrumentation diagrams with Autodesk software, we significantly reduced our costs while improving our collaboration and efficiency.”

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