Science paves the way for new Diesel innovation
- 10 January 2019
Since the invention of diesel fuel in the 1800s, scientists and fuel industry members have all been looking to improve the performance and reliability of the substance. New developments continue to change the way diesel fuel is sourced and used.
A new type of diesel
In a recent report in the scientific journal Nature Sustainability, a team of researchers led by University of Illinois’ agricultural and biological engineering professor Yuanhui Zhang have devised a method that turns wet bio-waste into diesel-compatible fuels.
In the United States alone, almost 80 tonnes of of wet bio-waste is generated every year through food production. This number is set to increase on an annual basis as the population increases and urban sprawl continues across the country. Food scraps and animal waste take up an enormous amount of space, require vast resources to remove and present an ongoing environmental headache.
How it works
This is where the team’s process of hydrothermal liquefaction comes into play, combined with a new technique called esterification. This uses water to react with the waste material into biocrude oil. This isn’t usable in itself, but can then be further refined into a matter that is compatible with diesel engines and can provide a new source of energy for vehicles, machinery and power generators.
After being blended with diesel, the new fuel also shares diesel’s emissions profile and rate of combustion, providing between 96 and 100 percent of diesel’s power output. Impressive for what would otherwise have been table scraps.
Currently the system is many years away from mass-scale production. A pilot-scale reactor is being built and needs a mobile trailer to be transported safely. It can take up to a ton of waste material and generate 30 tonnes from biocrude oil every day, and the research gathered from this system will go towards making the device smaller and more efficient.
At Bulk Fuel Australia we’re always looking towards the next generation of diesel fuel delivery for our clients. Talk to Bulk Fuel Australia today to discover what is in the future for you.