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 During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens
14.08.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments
14.08.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>