Re­searchers iden­tify cheaper, greener bio­fuel pro­cess­ing cat­a­lyst

Chemical Industry Digest - - Renewables -

Prairie

Re­search In­sti­tute, US, re­searcher B.K. Sharma and co-au­thors from the Uni­ver­sity of Birm­ing­ham have col­lab­o­rated to de­velop a greener bio­fu­els pro­cess­ing cat­a­lyst us­ing waste me­tals and bac­te­ria.

Their find­ings, pub­lished in the jour­nal Fuel, spec­ify a cheaper, more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly and re­new­able cat­a­lyst for pro­cess­ing. It uses reg­u­lar bac­te­ria and the me­tal pal­la­dium, which can be re­cov­ered from waste sources such as cat­alytic con­vert­ers, street sweeper dust, dis­carded elec­tron­ics, and pro­cessed sewage.

The bio­fuel cre­ated in the lab from al­gae con­tains im­pu­ri­ties like oxy­gen and ni­tro­gen, but treat­ing it with pal­la­dium as a cat­a­lyst dur­ing pro­cess­ing helps elim­i­nate those im­pu­ri­ties to meet clean-air re­quire­ments, Sharma said.

For the pal­la­dium to work well, the bio-oil must flow past it dur­ing pro­cess­ing. Ear­lier stud­ies have re­vealed that al­low­ing the oil flow through por­ous car­bon par­ti­cles in­fused with pal­la­dium is an ef­fec­tive tech­nique, how­ever those car­bon par­ti­cles are not eco­nom­i­cal, Sharma said.

To ex­am­ine the ef­fec­tive­ness of the new method, Sharma and his co-au­thors per­formed a range of phys­i­cal and chem­i­cal analy­ses to es­tab­lish if their new pro­cess­ing treat­ment cre­ated a liq­uid fuel that matches in qual­ity to one cre­ated us­ing the com­mer­cially pro­duced cat­a­lyst.The more ex­pen­sive com­mer­cial cat­a­lyst has the added ad­van­tage that it can be used over and over with­out pro­longed pro­cess­ing, while the Sharma group’s pal­la­dium-on­bac­te­ria cat­a­lyst will need to en­dure pro­cess­ing to be reused.

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