Fuels from Waste and Biomass

Bio-diesel from Waste Products

The future supply of petrochemical fuel is heavily influenced by fluctuating oil prices, the limited availability of abundant oil resources and increasing concerns about the CO2-concentration in the atmosphere. In this context, biofuels have arisen as important alternatives. However, not all biofuels are equally suitable from an environmental viewpoint and many – especially biofuels made from food crops – are directly harmful from a global perspective besides being ethically debatable. Hence, usually only biofuels from waste products are truly sustainable.

Starting from waste feedstocks, biodiesel is traditionally produced by esterification and transesterification of oils and fats. However, it may also be produced by hydrotreating fats or by supercritical conversion of aqueous organic (fatty) waste. Importantly, all three processes only take place in the presence of a catalyst.

In the centre we are currently pursuing all three process options, and we have developed methods to study them so as to elucidate reaction mechanisms. The primary aim is the desire to understand reaction mechanisms for the different types of conversions and optimize catalysts and processing based on this knowledge. Thus, new catalysts are prepared and their activity is evaluated and related to surface properties and chemical composition via advanced characterization techniques.

Projects at all levels can be set up within our Fuels from Waste and Biomass activities. Depending on project direction and aim, projects will take place in cooperation with Danish companies.