Biodiesel proponents are buzzing with excitement about the news of a greener and faster way to convert used vegitable oil into biodiesel. Two chemists from Brown University have figured out a way to convert used vegitable oil into biodiesel in 20 minutes, as compared to 2 hours. In addition to the faster conversion time the researchers also discovered how to complete the entire process without using toxic chemicals.
The research was published this week in the journal Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry.With the future of biodiesel looking to play a considerable role in the future fuel supply, scientists are continually looking for methods that do not compromise the environment in order to obtain greater efficiencies. â€śWe wanted to develop an environmentally benign and technically simple way to convert waste vegetable oil into biodiesel,â€ť said Jason Sello, assistant professor of chemistry. â€śThe production of energy at the expense of the environment is untenable and should be avoided at all costs.â€ť The scientists were able to replace the hazardous chemicals with the more benign catalysts bismuth triflate and scandium triflate, which are chemically stable, cheap and of limited toxicity. â€śWhile we have not yet proven the viability of our approach on an industrial scale,â€ť Sello said, â€śwe have identified very promising catalysts and reaction conditions that could, in principle, be used for large-scale conversion of waste vegetable oil into biodiesel in an environmentally sensitive manner.â€ť