Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Diesel from Waste

03.02.2011
Simple, energy-efficient process for producing high-quality fuels from biomass

For the last ten years, biodiesel in the form of fatty acid methyl ester has been promoted as a replacement for fossil-fuel-based diesel fuel. It was soon found that this has its problems because the required plants, such as rape, occupy cropland that can then no longer be used to grow food.

A second-generation biodiesel is now supposed to be gained from plant waste. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Avelino Corma and his team at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain) have introduced a highly promising new process that is energy efficient and delivers high-quality biodiesel fuel.

The usable materials in biomass—oat hulls, almond shells, bagasse (fibrous remains of sugar production from cane), sunflower-seed shells, corncobs, waste from olive oil production—consist mainly of cellulose-like carbohydrates. “A number of different approaches have been developed,” reports Corma, “many of them suffer from an unfavorable energy balance because they require a lot of energy themselves.”

Corma and his team have now successfully developed a simple, cost-effective process that is energy-efficient and also does not require any organic solvents. The first step is the conversion of biomass into furfural an established industrial process. In an adaptation of another current process, furfural can be converted with high selectivity into 2-methyl-furfural (2MF), a ring consisting of four carbon atoms and one oxygen atom, with a side chain consisting of a methyl group (–CH3).

“This 2MF is the starting material for our new diesel synthesis”, says Corma. First, three molecules of 2MF are linked together. This requires water and an acid catalyst. This reaction causes one third of the rings to open and each link to two other rings (hydroxy alkylation/alkylation). The aqueous phase, which also contains the catalyst, separates from the organic phase, which contains the intermediate product, on its own. It can easily be removed and the catalyst recycled. In a second reaction, the two other rings must also be opened and their oxygen atoms removed. This reaction uses a special platinum-containing catalyst (hydrodeoxygenation).

“In the end we obtain 87% of the diesel fraction in the form of branched hydrocarbon chains with nine to 16 carbon atoms,” claims Corma. “This is the best yield reported in the literature thus far for biodiesel synthesis.” Gas-phase and lower molecular weight byproducts can be used to produce heat. The resulting biodiesel is of excellent quality (cetane number 71, pour point 90 °C) and can be mixed directly with conventional diesel fuels.

Author: Avelino Corma, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain), mailto:acorma@itq.upv.es

Title: Production of High-Quality Diesel from Biomass Waste Products

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201007508

Avelino Corma | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

Further reports about: Angewandte Chemie Corma carbon atom diesel fuel oxygen atom waste management

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
21.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>