Researchers have discovered a way to produce biodiesel using used cooking oil and a microwave. Scientists have developed a process of using a microwave and catalyst-coasted beads to produce the renewable fuel. The research, with funding from the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, was recently published in ACS’ journal Energy & Fuels.
One of the challenges of biodiesel production is the cost per gallon. With this in mind, the researchers, led by Aharon Gedanken, set out to discover a less expensive method.
The research team developed silica beads coated with a catalyst and added them to waste cooking oil. Then, they zapped the mixture with a modified microwave oven to spur the reaction of the beads with cooking oil. In just 10 seconds, nearly 100 percent of the oil was converted to fuel. The researchers could also easily recover the beads and reuse them at least 10 times with similar results.
With conversion values as high as 99 percent, the research team believes economical production of biodiesel from cooking oil is feasible and on the horizon.