Jueves, 22 Diciembre 2016 16:58

System developed to convert glycerine produced as a result of biodiesel into biogas

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An investigation team from the University of Córdoba has surprised the international scientific community by recycling one of the excess by-products of the production of bio diesel, at the same time converting it into a source of renewable energy.

The December issue of Bioresource Techonology magazine includes one of the scientific articles that has most surprised chemical engineering experts and the biofuel sector in the last few months. It is about the conclusions of an investigation developed by members of the chemical engineering research group in their laboratory at the University of Córdoba, and tested at an Andalusian plant dedicated to the production of biofuel.

The announcement of the publication of the article and the distribution of its summary in specialised forums alone has aroused interest from scientific and industrial groups from various points of the globe. Everyone wants to know how the Cordovan researchers have achieved the conversion of glycerine, a by-product of the production of bio diesel, into a new form of energy, biogas, and how they have achieved this with a minimal loss of energy.

The scientific interest lies in the fact that this has been achieved in a natural way, by means of a process known as anaerobic digestion in which micro organisms are used to transform the organic material, converting the glycerine into a gas with similar properties to natural gas.

Interest from the industrial sector means that the study by the Cordovan team is already available on certain forums for specialised companies. And it is not surprising if we take into account that for every 9 kilograms of biodiesel produced, the industry obtains one kilogram of glycerine. In other words, a plant with an average annual production of 20,000 tons of fuel, also obtains 2,200 tons of glycerine - a substance whose market value had dropped due to overproduction and whose value will now increase as a result of its possibilities as a renewable energy source.

The authors of the article in Bioresource Technology, professors Antonio Martín, Arturo Chica, Ma Ángeles Martín y Jóse Ángel Siles, have tested the results of their experiments as much in their laboratory as in the production plant of the company ‘Biodiésel de Andalucía S.A.’


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