Currently a truck takes away all the waste. However, a number of Chemistry Faculty lecturers have demonstrated that this oil can be used and revalued at the university itself, having managed to produce biodiesel from the used oil.
According to lecturer Ms Eneritz Anakabe, "we have shown that it can be done on a small scale, that biodiesel can be obtained from this oil in a simple manner".
This initiative involves three lecturers in Chemistry from the UPV/EHU, one from the School of Engineers in Bilbao and a number of collaborators. Their research project is called Transesterification. Biodiesels, is financed by the UNESCO Catedra for the Sustainable Development and Environmental Education of the UPV/EHU, and is to last for two years – until 2011.
Obviously, to produce large quantities of biodiesel, another type of installation will be required, but what can be produced in the laboratories of the Faculty of Science and Technology is sufficient for the lawn mowers, heating and official cars of the UPV/EHU.
Without greenhouse effect
In order to obtain biodiesel from oil, a transesterification reaction is necessary. The lecturers mentioned have gathered together the literature on various experimental techniques that enable this reaction and have carried out trials until they found the cheapest, most rapid and, in their view, the most appropriate. Not more than an hour is needed to undertake this transformation. Moreover, they have compared their results with commercial biodiesel fuels (taking advantage of the fact that their properties and quantities are known), showing that the product created can be used at the university.
Mr Fernando Mijangos, the person in charge of the project, highlighting the advantages of biodiesel and thereby the product they obtained, compared to diesel fuel, stated, "From the perspective of gases emitted due to the greenhouse effect, these —the biodiesel fuels— are much more profitable than the others and are much cleaner. Diesels are fossil fuels and so induce the greenhouse effect. These fried oils, on the other hand, do not". What is more, if the technique with which they have experimented were to be implemented throughout the university, it would not only result in a zero greenhouse effect, but would also "clean up" the environment: "Instead of dumping the waste down the sink, we offer a cleaner solution. This is its greatest advantage".
Container for oil waste collection
In the months remaining until the project terminates, this group of chemists will focus mainly on two aspects: on the one hand, the optimisation of the product obtained and, on the other, social awareness. As regards the latter, according to Mr Mijangos, the data show that only 3 in every 10 times oil is recycled. The willingness of members of the public, clearly, is indispensable for the raw material collected to be sufficient in order to obtain biodiesel therefrom. The university teachers have taken measures to make the students aware, as Ms Anakabe explains: "We made contact with the Rafrinor company and we placed a container at the entrance —on the right side— of the faculty, in order to collect used oil". It was installed at the beginning of May and will remain there for several months, in order to measure and foment the involvement of the public.
Making people aware is an arduous task. As an example of this, Ms Anakabe refers to her students: "I have 40 students but, to be honest, only ten have committed themselves. This is significant. While the students are more aware, they are still slow in changing – it is "easier" to throw away the oil directly down the sink". Because of this and in order to motivate the students, Mr Mijangos explained that they are undertaking the transesterification reaction —from which we get the biodiesel— jointly with the students. "We are doing two experiments daily, and we are also learning in this way. Moreover, when we finish the project, we hope to write a small booklet with all the experiments and techniques carried out. And then implement them with our students".
Support of UPV/EHU fundamental
In any case, as Mr Mijangos reminds us, "we as researchers are not going to solve this unless there is a commitment from government bodies". Ms Anakabe adds that putting into practice the fruit of these two years of work is in the hands of the people working in the vice-chancellor's office", because government support is essential. "We are scientists and we will continue with our experiments. For example, we will study the treatment to be undertaken (viscosity, density and so on). All this is easy for us. What is not so easy is getting it right in transferring this from laboratory to society", stated Mr Mijangos.
Amaia Portugal | EurekAlert!
New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News