Friday, April 16, 2010

Biodiesel Developments

According to the inventors, the Mcgyan process has the following benefits:
Flexible feedstock; animal or plant sources of lipids can be used.
Current waste products can be turned into fuel.
No use of strong acids or bases in the process.
Fast reaction times (seconds).
Cheap feedstocks such as waste grease and animal tallow as well as a variety of plant oils can be converted to biodiesel.
The metal oxide based catalyst is a contained in a fixed bed reactor thereby eliminating the current need to continuously add catalyst to the reaction mixture thereby reducing the amount of waste produced.
Unwanted side reactions with free fatty acids producing soaps are eliminated, thereby reducing the amount of waste that must be disposed of properly.
Insensitive to free fatty acid and water content of the feedstocks.
The catalyst does not poison over time. _MCGYAN

A biodiesel plant based upon the rapid MCGYAN process is being built in Northern Iowa.
...aside from its speed, the recently developed MCGYAN process, which uses a metal oxide reactor to convert different waste products into fuel, offers several advantages over the traditional way of producing biodiesel.

... the process is so new, state and federal regulations need to catch up.

“The regulations have really not kept up with the technology so we're sort of dealing with some old thinking around that," he said.

While he says EPA regulations will cause them to slow the start of production. The prototype refinery in Minnesota is now selling fuel which is helping to speed their development.

"So the technology is a proven technology and they are producing ASDM quality biodiesel at that plant," said Luetscher. _KIMT
Another new approach to bio-oils is the retrieval of useful oils from hog manure.
When it comes to providing an alternative source of oil, pig manure ain’t no small potatoes. According to an article by Steve Giegerich in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, one pig generates up to 8 pounds of manure per day. The research team estimates that a 10,000-hog farm could produce about 5,000 barrels of crude oil per year. The bottom line: instead of ending up with a manure waste disposal nightmare, hog farms could see an increase in income of up to $15 per hog.

...The manure-to-oil process uses thermochemical conversion, in which heat and pressure act on organic compounds in a revved-up, tightly controlled imitation of the much longer process that occurs in nature. In order to develop a commercially viable method, the research team ditched the catalyst required by the conventional process, and they figured out a way to keep pig hair and dander from fouling the equipment. The team also skipped the conventional first step, which would be to dewater the manure. Instead, their process uses raw manure containing 80% water. The use of raw manure requires more heat to activate the conversion, but the researchers note that could be captured and recycled with a heat exchanger. _CleanTechnica
Both of these projects are relatively local and small scale -- yet they are poised to have a significant positive effect on local economies and employment.

One of the many deficiencies of large scale hyper-centralised government, is the focus upon central large scale projects and bureaucracies to the neglect of the vast outer reaches of land and population. Bio-energy has the potential to empower local and regional economies, independent of big government. In fact, as you can read above, big government is a tremendous drag on the development of newer rural technologies.



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