Monday, June 16, 2008

MicroReactor Biodiesel and $30 a Barrel Crude

University of Texas at Arlington researchers have developed a microreactor the size of a small suitcase that can make biodiesel from vegetable oil in less than four minutes (usually takes 90 minutes), and do so in a continuous process. The same process promises to convert cheap "brown coal" into heavy crude oil for $30 a barrel.
"Because the mixing of the reactants takes place on a micro scale, the complete chemical reaction is much faster than in a traditional batch reactor," Dr. Billo explained.

"When many micro-reactors are used in parallel, one large operation can produce the same amount of biodiesel per year as a traditional batch production plant."

Size of a suitcase

Dr. Billo also pointed out that traditional plants costs tens of millions of dollars, but a micro-reactor plant would cost tens of thousands of dollars to process the same amount of biodiesel fuel. And each micro-reactor will be about the size of a small suitcase.

Now Dr. Dennis has added an emphasis on turning liquefied lignite into heavy crude oil that could be used by existing refineries to produce gasoline, motor oil and other petroleum products such as plastics. __Source__via__BiofuelsDigest



Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

I wonder if restaurants could convert their own used oil, run a generator and thus cut their energy usage. But maybe it would be cheaper to sell the used oil to a third party for conversion to fuel, electricity and the possible chemistry applications.

Someone recently developed a system for removing airborne grease from the hot air vents over stoves so that the heat in the air could be reclaimed to heat the rest of the building without getting gummed up with grease (instead of a filter they used redirection of air which can turn corners faster than grease aerosols). Maybe establishments in warmer climates could use the heat to pre-warm water entering the hot water tanks or something.

9:51 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

Utilities generally provide cheaper electric energy than most people or small businesses can provide themselves from fuel burning generators.

Once solar panels and high capacity batteries become cheap and widely available at the same time, the equation may change, but most businesses will want utility guaranteed power anyway--possibly involving sale of power back to the utility during peak sunlight.

Heat recovery systems are going to become important--first in very large scale plants, then in smaller and smaller businesses as the technology matures.

1:31 PM  

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