Agência FAPESP – Since 2008, trucks and buses in Brazil have run on a percentage of biodiesel from vegetable oils or animal fat added to the traditional petroleum-based diesel. At first, biodiesel accounted for 2% of the fuel; since 2010, this renewable and less polluting fuel has accounted for 5%. However, production has increased and this poses a problem: what should be done with the remaining glycerol, which is left over at a proportion of 100 kilos to each one thousand kilos of biodiesel produced? The solution, as shown by various research studies conducted in the country, is to transform the glycerol into a product with added value, as shown in an award-winning study produced by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). This resulted in a liquid dust suppressor made from glycerol. The liquid is sprayed onto the wagons loaded with iron ore, as they travel from the mines to the processing facilities or to the ports from where the iron ore is exported. Spraying the glycerol liquid prevents dust particles – that cause economic losses, environmental damage, and hazards to the health of the communities that surround the railway tracks – from being released by wind or rain into the atmosphere.
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