[Vwdiesel] Reactor converts vegetable oil into biodiesel

James Hansen jhsg at sasktel.net
Fri Apr 21 00:31:14 EDT 2006

just one thing about the process...
a catalyst as the article describes the hydroxide provider (lye), 
shouldn't be used up, but the lye is, so it's not a catalyst proper... 
or am I on the wrong line of thought here?
The concept sounds pretty good tho.


Andrew Buc wrote:
> This from today's Seattle Times:
> http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/ 
> 2002941349_biodiesel20m.html
> Reactor converts vegetable oil into biodiesel
> By William McCall
> The Associated Press
> PORTLAND — A tiny chemical reactor that can convert vegetable oil  
> directly into biodiesel could help farmers turn some of their crops  
> into homegrown fuel to operate agricultural equipment instead of  
> relying on costly imported oil.
> "This is all about producing energy in such a way that it liberates  
> people," said Goran Jovanovic, a chemical-engineering professor at  
> Oregon State University who developed the microreactor.
> The device — about the size of a credit card — pumps vegetable oil and  
> alcohol through tiny parallel channels, each smaller than a human hair,  
> to convert the oil into biodiesel almost instantly.
> By comparison, it takes more than a day to produce biodiesel with  
> current technology.
> Conventional production involves dissolving a catalyst, such as sodium  
> hydroxide, in alcohol, then stirring it into vegetable oil in large  
> vats for about two hours.
> The mixture then has to sit for 12 to 24 hours, while a slow chemical  
> reaction forms biodiesel along with glycerin, a byproduct.
> The glycerin is separated and can be used to make other products, such  
> as soaps.
> But it still contains the chemical catalyst, which must be neutralized  
> and removed using hydrochloric acid — a long and costly process.
> The microreactor under development by the university and the Oregon  
> Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute eliminates the mixing, the  
> standing time and maybe even the need for a catalyst.
> "If we're successful with this, nobody will ever make biodiesel any  
> other way," Jovanovic said.
> The device is small, but it can be stacked in banks to increase  
> production levels to the volume required for commercial use, he said.
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