ASU to Produce Biodiesel from Farm Wastes
A biodiesel project which utilizes waste fats and oils will soon be implemented in Aklan after the Department of Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund Executive Committee (ACEF-EXECOM) has approved a grant worth P14.93 million for the establishment of a 200-liter a day capacity biodiesel production facility at the AkIan State University (ASU) in Banga, Aklan.
The project which is the first of its kind in Western Visayas and the first biodiesel project by a state university in the country to receive an ACEF grant, is seen to reduce oil-containing wastes from a growing number of meat processors and food establishments in Aklan.
These oil-containing wastes, which are either dumped in the ground or sold to other food processors for recycling, can be converted into coco-methyl ester (CME), according to a research tem from ASU composed of Dr. Mary Eden Teruel, Engr. Tomas Ortega and Prof. Arlene de la Cruz.
Coco-methyl ester is a fuel additive that can be used alone or blended with diesel in conventional engines. The Biofuels Act requires the use of one percent CME blend in diesel-run vehicles.
Dr. Teruel said that it is feasible to use vegetable oil in making CME as seen in the results of previous studies. She cited, for instance, an American mechanical engineering student who conducted his masteral thesis in ASU more than five years ago. The research which was done through the help ofASU researchers, had proven that CME produced from refined coconut oil and other commercial vegetable oils performs well with diesel engine in 10 percent up 50 percent blend and even at 100 percent.
A related study, which was an investigatory project of a student in Kalibo, Aklan, also showed that used animal fats from a commercial meat processing facility in Kalibo could be converted into biodiesel. The study was also assisted by ASU and has gained recognition in the region.
In their study titled “Biodiesel from Waste Animal Fats and Oils,” Dr. Teruel, Engr. Ortega and Prof. De la Cruz found that there was no significant difference among pure coconut oil, other vegetable oils and used/waste animal fats when converted into biofuel.
When tested in a diesel-run engine, the researchers observed a lesser engine noise, lesser smoke emission, and more than double mileage on the engine fueled with biodiesel compared to engine using petroleum diesel. The technology developed by ASU researchers is environment-friendly and non-toxic.
The researchers said that using waste animal fats and oils will not only reduce environmental pollution due to improper disposal, it will also encourage the meat processors and other establishments to sell their used oils rather than recycle them for cooking purposes. Repeated use of cooking oil could be detrimental to health.