Production of High Quality Biodiesel Fuel and Chemicals from Biomass Wastes

Abstract/Technology Overview

Biodiesel fuel (BDF) has been widely produced from palm oil in Asia, soy bean oil in the USA, canola and sunflower oil in EU. However, some scientists warned that the utilization of BDF produced from these otherwise edible oils are not effective, especially in terms of fighting against climate change. What are the suitable raw materials for BDF? In Asian countries, inedible natural resources such as rubber seeds and/or animal fat from slaughter houses are good potential candidates as a source for BDF.

Rubber seeds and/or animal fats are very cheap and available for BDF production with great amounts because they have been thrown away as waste, due to high contents of free fatty acid.

Our technology consists of: (1) Effective separation of free fatty acid from oil through the formation of solid phase metal soap, and as a result high quality oil can be obtained for the production of BDF. (2) Co-solvent method by adding 10% of acetone to oil, providing homogeneous rapid formation of BDF at room temperature (10min.) and rapid separation (30min.) of BDF produced from by-product glycerin. Co-solvent method with minimum consumption of energy and minimum emission of waste from production process can realize the production of high quality BDF whose price is competitive to petro -diesel.

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

Co-solvent method: The addition of 10% acetone, which makes homogeneous solution of immiscible methanol and oil, accelerates the production rate of BDF without formation of soap. As a result, pure BDF can be produced at room temperature in 10 min. Furthermore, viable BDF can be obtained even from raw material containing 2-5% water. This is significant considering the conventional method will not be able to do so even if raw materials contain 2% of water. Finally, high quality BDF can be obtained without distillation of the products and just by washing BDF product with water and drying. On the other hand, the conventional method in heterogeneous reaction needs higher reaction temperature (60 oC) and longer reaction time (1h) and separation time (3-5h) with the formation of soap.

Separation technology of free fatty acid (FFA) from oil by the formation of solid phase metal soap from FFA is very simple. At present, metal soap has been widely produced from pure stearic acid from palm oil and used as additives in plastic molding or metal molding. Our technology can produce metal soap not only from FFA but also from the mixture of FFA and oil. The FFA-oil mixture can be selectively reacted with alkaline cations by adding dilute aqueous solution of metal hydroxide such as Ca(OH)2, Ba(OH)2 or Zn(OH)2. Formed solid metal soap can be separated from liquid phase oil by filtration.

Potential Applications

Primary application of BDF may be fuel for transportation. However, recent electric and hydrogen vehicles have been focused mostly in developed countries. High quality BDF can be used for other transportation systems such as ship, diesel train and agricultural machine in developed countries.

Rubber seed oil contains high amount of unsaturated oil such as linoleic and linolenic triglyceride which can be used as supplements for health benefit due to it has properties such as antioxidant and as effective protection from UV light.

Usually oil seeds contain 30% oil, but our technology has the potential to utilise 100% of seeds including shell and oil strained waste for biomass mixed combustion for electric power generation.

We have just started the production of plasticizer (t-butyl ester of free fatty acid is not the endocrine-disrupter) as the alternative polymer additive of DOP (di-octyl phthalate) which is well known as endocrine-disrupter.

Customer Benefit

BDF produced from edible oil such as palm, soybean and canola are more expensive than petro-diesel and also not as feasible as for carbon neutral fuel to counteract impact on climate change. However, BDF which contains no aromatic hydrocarbon and sulfur compounds is very clean fuel. This is especially true for the emission of small particulates such as poly-aromatic hydrocarbons and SO2. Therefore, utilization of BDF can realize the improvement of serious air pollution in developing countries. If we are to produce high quality BDF which can be used as B100 and the price is cheaper than that of petro-diesel, our BDF will provide much more benefits to economic advantages and environmental improvement.

Technology Owner

Yasuaki Maeda


Japan Science and Technology Agency

Technology Category
  • Others
  • Biofuels & Biomass
  • Biological & Chemical Treatment
  • Chemical Processes
Technology Status
  • Available for Licensing
Technology Readiness Level
  • TRL 7

Environmental Science, Renewable Energy, Biodiesel fuel, Mitigation of Climate Change