Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Biodiesel Production Goes Eco-friendly

Published: Friday, March 21, 2014
Last Updated: Friday, March 21, 2014
Bookmark and Share
New water-free process for the production of biodiesel from waste vegetable oils.

The sustainability of biofuels as a renewable energy source has been boosted with the development of a new water-free process for the production of biodiesel from waste vegetable oils.

The global production of biofuels - such as ethanol and biodiesel - has increased by over 600 per cent in a decade to more than 100 billion litres in 2011. Biofuels are used widely in the transport sector and account for three per cent of total road transport fuel globally.

However, biofuels production has been criticized for causing deforestation, adding to the pressure on agricultural land needed for food production and the environmental impact of wastewater produced during their production.

Traditional methods of biodiesel production use high volumes of water to remove impurities or 'soaps' to meet stringent quality standards. For palm oil production, 50 per cent of water used becomes palm oil mill effluent - the largest pollutant of rivers in Malaysia.

However, researchers from the University of Porto, Portugal, are now looking at water-free methods for purifying biofuels, including those made from waste cooking oils, animal fats and other fatty wastes derived from industrial activities.

Instead of water, researchers used catalysts to pre-treat and target impurities such as calcium 'soaps' in the biodiesel. The impurities were then removed by absorption into resins or passing through ceramic membranes.

The researchers were able to produce good quality biodiesel from both virgin vegetable oil and, importantly, waste oils used for frying. The new process could provide significant economic and environmental benefits compared to other more energy intensive water-based production methods.

The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) chief executive, Dr David Brown, said: "In some countries like Brazil, biofuels provide nearly a quarter of their road transport needs. In the European Union, negotiations are under way to increase biofuels for transport to ten per cent. And Indonesia - the world's largest producer of palm oil - has announced plans to increase biodiesel production to reduce its reliance on crude oil imports.

"However, current production processes do not always deliver the full potential of biofuels to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and there are continuing challenges including economic and environmental.

"But demand for biofuels is clearly increasing and advancement in chemical engineering processes, such as the use of heterogeneous catalysis4 and water-free methods using membranes, are very welcome to consolidate biofuels as a globally accepted and sustainable source of renewable energy."

The role of chemical engineers in the health, water, food and energy sectors is explored in IChemE’s latest technical strategy, Chemical Engineering Matters.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Plant Ageing Gene Key to Food Supply
Controlling the life-cycle of plants could be the solution to increasing food production as population exceeds nine billion by 2050.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Natural Waste Solution for Reclaiming Contaminated Land
A charcoal made from biomass could hold the key to re-claiming thousands of square kilometres of polluted ‘brownfield’ land across the world.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Scientific News
Red Clover Genome to Help Restore Sustainable Farming
The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) in collaboration with IBERS, has sequenced and assembled the DNA of red clover to help breeders improve the beneficial traits of this important forage crop.
Turning up the Tap on Microbes Leads to Better Protein Patenting
Mining millions of proteins could become faster and easier with a new technique that may also transform the enzyme-catalyst industry, according to University of California, Davis, researchers.
Tardigrade's Are DNA Master Thieves
Tardigrades, nearly microscopic animals that can survive the harshest of environments, including outer space, hold the record for the animal that has the most foreign DNA.
GMO Food Animals Should be Judged by Product, Not Process
In a world with a burgeoning demand for meat, milk and eggs, regulatory policies around the use of biotechnologies in agriculture need to be based on the safety and attributes of those foods rather than on the methods used to produce them, says a UC Davis animal scientist.
Cancer-Fighting Tomato Component Traced
The metabolic pathway associated with lycopene, the bioactive red pigment found in tomatoes, has been traced by researchers at the University of Illinois.
TGAC Announces Milestone in Wheat Research
A more complete and accurate wheat genome assembly is being made available to researchers, by The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) on 12 November 2015.
Shedding Light on the Origin of the Date Palm
Researchers also find ‘genetic mutation’ that is responsible for dates’ color.
New Way to Find DNA Damage
University of Utah chemists devised a new way to detect chemical damage to DNA that sometimes leads to genetic mutations responsible for many diseases, including various cancers and neurological disorders.
Speeding Up Potato Breeding
A joint project is investigating the potential of drones for speeding up the development of new potato varieties.
Gene Editing Could Enable Pig-To-Human Organ Transplant
The largest number of simultaneous gene edits ever accomplished in the genome could help bridge the gap between organ transplant scarcity and the countless patients who need them.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos