Profitable, clean, carbon-neutral energy sources have been difficult to develop. UTC Engineering professor Dr. Frank Jones and his research team are seeking funds to build a micro-reactor to make biodiesel.
“The real-world application of this transformational technology would be a biodiesel production plant the size of a typical desktop computer tower capable of producing 500-1000 liters of biodiesel per week. These devices would be distributed and operated by small businesses,” said Jones, UC Foundation Professor, Chemical Engineering.
Manufacturing biodiesel involves mixing vegetable oil or animal fat with alcohol in the presence of a catalyst. Traditional processes are slow and produce unwanted by-products such as soap.
“The micro process does not produce soap, removes the need to separate the catalyst from the product, produces two valuable co-products that are inexpensively and easily separated, and decreases processing time from hours to seconds,” he said.