Fats Used to Make Waste Fuel
From Animal and Vegetable Fat to Car Fuel
Gas prices have been climbing up which means filling your car’s tank has never been more expensive. Thankfully, various groups have been trying to make use of waste fuels. Waste fuels are exactly that – viable, usable fuel that is derived from waste materials. Generally, these waste materials include factory byproducts, animal wastes, and municipal solid wastes or household garbage.
Currently, the trend seems to be pointing to one very promising source of waste fuel: fat from animals and vegetables. In many ways, animal fat is an ideal resource for waste fuel. It can be acquired cheaply, and since people breed pigs and cows for food chances are there will always be some fat left over. Instead of fat being thrown away, it can be collected and processed for other purposes. As for vegetable fat, this usually comes in the form of vegetable oils that is commonly used in various cooking processes.
There are basically two methods in which you can gather animal fat for waste fuel. You can collect the fat directly from the slaughter house or the butcher. Usually in the process of preparing meat for consumers, butchers focus on getting the leaner parts of the animal. As a result, the fatty areas and the fatty lining get discarded as waste. With the other technique animal fat is gathered in the form of oil. This can be done by collecting the used cooking oil utilized by fast food chains and other food or catering businesses. If you choose to use vegetable oil, it can be collected from the used vegetable cooking oil from fast food chains as well.
As with other forms of recycling, by using the fat from slaughtered animals or the used cooking oil from restaurants, we can diminish the waste we generate. Normally, slaughterhouses, food chains, restaurants and other businesses call up waste management services to handle the almost 11 billion pounds of animal fat that is wasted every year. By collecting these materials, we are saving the food industry from further waste and we are able to get a fuel resource at almost no cost for the raw materials.
How do we turn waste fat and oil into viable fuel? Actually, this is a rather simple conversion process. It all starts with the transesterification process. In this process, a substance called glycerol is taken out of the actual oil. More specifically, it entails adding methanol and sodium hydroxide to the oil and fats. The methanol and sodium hydroxide will act as a catalyst, turning the triglyceride esters in the oil into alkyl esters. So, what happens is the alkyl esters react to the methanol, producing a methyl esters biodiesel. Put simply, the fat’s structure is now changed. Instead of having 3 fatty acid chains bound by a molecule of glycerin, the fatty acids are now bound by substances found in methanol. Later, the glycerin will sink to the bottom, while the methyl esters biodiesel will float and the mix can be further separated using a centrifuge.
Since this type of waste fuel is different from regular diesel or gasoline, it will require certain modifications in the car’s engine. This type of fuel is targeted towards the transport industry. Since larger vehicles use more fuel and consequently, they release more greenhouse gases in their emission.
Using waste fuel from animal fats and vegetable oils will not only lead to a reduction in fuel costs, it will also be much safer for the environment. In fact, it has been proven that biodiesels like the waste fuel from animal fats emit less carbon dioxide and sulfur compounds that traditional fuel sources. Animal fat is also easily combustible. This means that there will be fewer buildups in your engine and the biodiesel will burn cleaner. Since you can maximize the fuel it’s possible to get better mileage from your vehicle, allowing your car and dollar to go a little further