Solid catalyst simplifies turning algae into biodiesel
...United Environment & Energy, an engineering company in Horseheads, N.Y., believes it has the answer. By using a "mixed metal oxide" catalyst (a form of certain metals resistant to corrosion but reactive), chemical engineer Ben Wen and his colleagues at United have come up with a conversion process that is 40 percent cheaper than an industrial scale version of the traditional methanol and lye process (methanol costs about 65? per gallon while lye is about $4 per pound). That process must also be finished by purifying the biodiesel with water to wash out left over chemicals that then linger in the water.
This new process would make biodiesel that also doesn't require the purification step, because there is no liquid catalyst mixed into the resulting fuel, Wen says...
Anyhow, the impressive rate at which biodiesel/ethanol production discoveries are being made really highlights how little research had been put into these technologies in the past. We're still very much in the low hanging fruit stage of such developments.
: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another