Efforts to make biodiesel production even more sustainable might get a boost from research into a water-free method of making the green fuel. This story from Biofuels Journal says researchers at the University of Porto in Portugal are looking at a way to eliminate the water normally used water to remove impurities to meet stringent quality standards.
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 researchers believe that finding more water-free or less-water-consuming methods of making biofuels becomes more and more important as more of the world turns to the alternative fuels.