Students in Process Plant Technology at Bismarck State College utilize several pieces of customized lab equipment including a 25 gallon biodiesel skid, and a nine tray distillation column.
The biodiesel trainer can process 5 gallons of fuel an hour, and is tied into the smart grid system in the building. The trainer can use waste oil from the student union as well as refined oil, such as canola oil, to generate biodiesel. The fuel is then able to be used in a generator housed in the National Energy Center of Excellence. It is controlled through a Delta V control system.
The distillation column was designed and built by Darby Tech and is one of only a handful of similar trainers in the world. It is used to teach students how to separate liquid mixtures and recover individual components, such as would be done in a crude oil refinery or in food and beverage manufacturing. This trainer is used to teach instrumentation, measurement, heat exchange, and distributed control systems. The column is constructed from transparent acrylic, allowing students to see and understand the process. It is controlled through an Emerson DCS.