Researchers turn waste cooking oil into biodiesel

(Nanowerk News) A team from National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in southern Taiwan has developed a way to convert waste cooking oil into biodiesel by heating it for 10 seconds in a microwave oven with a strontium oxide catalyst, and the technology should enter mass production within a year.
The process was developed by an NCKU team led by professor Liao Jiunn-der of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in conjunction with Aharon Gedanken of Israel-based Bar-Ilan University, who is a visiting professor in the department. They have applied to patent the technology, which converts 99 percent of the waste oil into biodiesel.
“I was told that Taiwanese people like to cook a lot and the waste cooked oils can be a problem for the environment. So we come up with an idea that is very unique to combine the microwave and with certain catalyst that we can fully convert the waste cooked oils into the biodiesel in 10 seconds.”
“By the year 2020, in the European community, 20% of the diesel in the gasoline station will contain biodiesel,” said Gedanken, “and I hope by that year in Taiwan 100% will go to biodiesel and if the project is successful, we can convince people to collect waste cooked oils instead of through it away.”
This is exactly the project that we’d like to build here in NCKU, said Gedanken, and now we can covert 100 kilos a day and expectedly in the future tons of cooked oils can be converted into biodiesel.
“Actually everyone can do it on small scale at home kitchen with the domestic microwave,” Gedanken noted.
He also said, to do the reaction, you use a container and put in half cooked oil and in the end you get three layers – biodiesel, SrO, and glycerol. And in between we have SrO, the catalyst, which can be removed to carry out at least 10 more times the same reaction.
We believe we can convince the industry to build on a larger scale that we can convert all the cooked oils into biodiesel. It is hope this will be the replacement for fossil oil in the future, according to Gedanken.
This project supported and conducted by NCKU kicks off in August, according to Liao, “We hope that the budget for 2014 will be approved and then we’ll purchase the machine that will be able to run the cooked oils through the microwave which will be modified into a system to be able to run large quantity.”
“Prof. Gedanken has been named as one of ISI's Highly Cited Researchers and his study has been cited in more than 14,000 scientific articles. We’re honored to invite him over to conduct the research project as Visiting Chair Professor,” said Liao.
Source: National Cheng Kung University
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