A group of researchers from the University of Calgary has devised a way to develop a more stable and better quality fuel from biowaste. The process is cleaner and simpler than most existing methods used to produce fuel from biowaste. The process, also more economical than other methods, could help make biofuel more easily available and a good substitute to fossil fuels.
Presently, biofuel is generated from biowaste with the help of a highly complex two-step procedure. The procedure is expensive because it uses hydrogen, consumes more energy, and is also high on carbon waste in the form of CO2 emissions and char. If the procedure is used to create biofuel with the view of finding a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, it proves to be counterproductive instead. The team of researcher has simplified the conversion procedure and has made it cost-effective, cleaner, and sustainable.
The new procedure simultaneously undertakes the production of bio-oil and also upgrades it simultaneously in one step, thus mitigating the need for high pressures as is common in existing two-step procedures. Methane has been used instead of hydrogen for the purification of the biofuel and it is used in the crude stage. A new catalyst, called the HZSM-5, was developed to react with methane and cause it to release hydrogen.
Initial studies show that using the catalyst in the new procedure is a much more efficient way of producing biofuel and leads to low costs of production as compared to existing methods. Moreover, the carbon remains in the fuel in liquid form, leading to better quality, more stable, and cleaner fuel.