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Biodiesel is a clean-burning, oxygenated fuel derived from natural oils such as rapeseed, palm oil or waste animal fats. It is biodegradable and non-toxic and can replace diesel without engine modifications.
Biodiesel is the only green alternative to conventional diesel produced from crude oil. It is currently produced by trans-esterification of the natural oils with methanol, generating low grade by-product glycerol which needs an expensive purification step before it can be utilized.
In 2002 some 1.7 million tons of biodiesel (worth around € 1.2 billion) were produced worldwide with the market growing to over 2.5 million tons (or € 1.8 billion) in 2003.
TMO’s proprietary biodiesel biocatalyst operates at the current process temperature and significantly reduces the contaminants in the by-product glycerol, as well as minimizing the waste steam. TMO thermophile technology provides both economic conversion of natural oils to biodiesel and clean, high value by-product glycerol.
Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Heidelberg