Embrapa research the bottlenecks of biodiesel production from palm oil

Pailm oleoEmbrapa Agroenergy – Dendê has been considered as a promising raw material for biodiesel production for its high oil productivity and, the fact that has a well established productive system. However, some characteristics of the “palm oil” still require the addition of other oils and fats on the processing procedures to obtain biofuel.
According Dra Itânia Soares, researcher from Embrapa Agroenergy, the acidity, the main inconvenience of the palm oil, fluctuate depending of several factors, being around 5%, while of the soy oil is around 0.5%. The use of oleaginous acids raw materials in the biodiesel production entails to add further steps to the process, which increases the production costs. Using only acid oil, it is common to do primarily the esterification of free fatty acids and then the transesterelization
Embrapa Agroenergy has been testing differents ways to reduce these steps, optimizing the production process and reducing the production cost of fuel. These researches will have increasing from 2013, when the Center and a network of partners begins executing the research project called “Dendepalm” – Strategies genomic and adding value to the supply chain of palm oil – with funding from the “Financier of Studies and Projects” – FINEP.
The challenge extends beyond the biodiesel production, since the final product must attend the quality parameters which is established by the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuel (ANP). The purification of Biodiesel directly impacts on the quality parameters of the fuel, for example, the water content, in the laboratory level, task that requires attention, ressallta Dra Dra. Itânia.
It is necessary to be attentive to the impact that the addition of biodiesel from palm on petroleum diesel may cause in the final results of the physicochemical analyzes. That is why, one Center’s objective is also study the methods of controlling product quality. “We are working to optimize the biodiesel production process in a 5 liter reactor to develop a methodology for analyzing, in partnership with ANP,” she adds.

Source: Biocombustível, Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento, January 11st 2013
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