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 New Biodiesel Production Method Developed by DOE Scientists

21/3/07 (UPI Science News) -  A new material developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory might replace a costly process in biodiesel production.

Scientists at the laboratory's Nanoscience Center say the technology might replace the biodiesel manufacturing process that consumes chemicals, water and energy and also reduces the yield of the final product.

During production, catalysts must be applied to transform biodiesel from a thick and sticky substance into a fluid that can easily be pumped into vehicles. Following that process, the corrosive catalysts must be neutralized and washed from the fuel.

ORNL researchers Sheng Dai and Chengdu Liang created a material of solid acid nanocatalysts that can be fixed inside a reusable column or filter through which the biodiesel can flow to remove the catalyst materials.

The scientists said the nanomaterial shows promise for other applications as well, such as fuel cells, batteries and other energy storage and conversion technologies.

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