The microwave oven is one convenience just about every kitchen (and office lunch room) finds indispensable, but it also might become the next tool for making biodiesel. This article from the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in southern Taiwan says researchers there have found a way to turn waste cooking oils into biodiesel in 10 seconds.
“I was told that Taiwanese people like to cook a lot and the waste cooked oils can be a problem for the environment. So we come up with an idea that is very unique to combine the microwave and with certain catalyst that we can fully convert the waste cooked oils into the biodiesel in 10 seconds,” [says Prof. (Emeritus) Aharon Gedanken from the Department of Chemistry at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel, who is currently a Visiting Chair Professor (since Feb. 2012) at NCKU].
The technology underlying the study is now in the process of applying for a patent, according to [Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)] Distinguished Professor Jiunn-Der Liao who has invited Gedanken to cooperate with NCKU faculty conducting the research.
“By the year 2020, in the European community, 20% of the diesel in the gasoline station will contain biodiesel,” said Gedanken, “and I hope by that year in Taiwan 100% will go to biodiesel and if the project is successful, we can convince people to collect waste cooked oils instead of through it away.”
School officials say they can now convert more than 200 pounds of used cooking into biodiesel each day and expect to be producing tons in the near future. Plus, they hope each home kitchen will be able to use the technology to produce biodiesel on a small scale.