Researchers in America have pinpointed a catalyst that could reduce the cost of producing biofuels.
Using ‘common bacteria’ and ‘the metal palladium’ – which can be sourced from waste such as discarded electronics, the team, led by Illinois Sustainability Technology Center researcher B.K. Sharma, has pioneered a new processing method.
In tests at the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute, it found using the new catalyst, made from these greener sources, was effective in removing the impurities, nitrogen and oxygen, from the bio-oil used to make the alternative fuel.
“We were able to remove the oxygen and nitrogen impurities at a comparable rate, and yielded the same volume of product using our cheaper, greener catalyst as is observed using the more expensive commercial catalyst,” Sharma explained. “We have shown the potential of making refinery-ready crude oil from algae bio-oil using a catalyst that can be prepared from low-grade recycled metals and green and economical bacterial biomass proves that this is a very promising advancement. In addition, this bio-catalyst would work equally well in petrochemical processing.”