Progressing cavity pumps for pumping chemically aggressive liquids during biodiesel production

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Courtesy of ALLWEILER GmbH

Progressing cavity pumps reflect an established design with decades of usage in many industries and applications. Pumps of this type embody highly mature technical designs. For many years, improvements and innovations have been at the margins. Examples of design improvements include the 2/3-screw geometry, which is more economical than the 1/2-screw geometry that had been used exclusively for decades. Open joints and optimized rinsing connections are two additional advancements with proven value for applications with high hygienic requirements. These features make it possible to use progressing cavity pumps not only for traditional wastewater and sludge applications but also for food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics applications.

New applications for biofuels
Production of biodiesel and biogas is a relatively new application where progressing cavity pumps are increasingly utilized. Processing organic waste is the first step in production of biogas and another area where progressing cavity pumps have proven their usefulness.

When processing organic waste, resistance to mechanical wear is usually the primary consideration. But producers of biodiesel place their highest priority on chemical resistance. Biodiesel and its precursors are chemically aggressive. As a result, it is critical to develop materials that enable economical use of the pumps. Stainless steel has been used in hygienic applications for years and remains a good choice for metallic components like the casing and joint. However, achieving a similar level of resistance in elastomer stators requires specialized know-how and expertise in using a wide selection of potential synthetic materials.

Pumps for biodiesel plants
In the past several years, Allweiler AG has supplied pumps for a large number of biodiesel plants. In addition to fulfilling the two requirements mentioned above, this manufacturer has another major advantage: it produces its stators in-house at its own plant. This allows them to select from up to 20 different materials as needed, while also having the ability to produce stators in common dimensions and materials quickly and economically.

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