Alternative Reaction/Extraction Media to Reduce Energy and Cost of Biodiesel Production
Worldwide fossil-fuel consumption is skyrocketing, creating major social, political, economic, and environmental problems for the US and once again throwing the spotlight upon the urgent need for boosting renewable energy sources, including biodiesel. However, key technical and economic challenges continue to make biodiesel fuel production too costly to compete with other liquid fuels, largely based on the cost of the energy inputs needed for current biodiesel-production processes. This project will develop a new method for biodiesel production that utilizes supercritical carbon dioxide in a process that links vegetable oil extraction with the transesterification reaction, in order to achieve continuous and economical biodiesel production. Although previous work has indicated the economic benefit (cheaper feedstocks, cleaner products) of using supercritical fluids separately in the extraction processes and in the biodiesel reaction process, the proposed approach represents the first attempt to combine these steps to save energy costs associated with heating and pressurizing the supercritical fluid medium. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The technology should significantly improve biodiesel preparation and contribute to the DOE goal of reducing US dependence on foreign oil supplies. It offers simplification of the extraction and reaction processes into a single, continuous flowing system and concomitant savings in energy inputs and production costs.
Small Business Information at Submission:
401 Mountain View Avenue Longmont, CO 80501
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