Brown grease is a common waste product responsible for many sewer overflows and illnesses, and it contains useful free fatty acids and other hydrocarbon-like molecules. This work demonstrates the potential to transform nearly 100% of the brown grease into biodiesel, synthesis gas and bio-oil for use as biofuel or for power generation. A solid acid catalyst was synthesized with excellent activity for esterification of the free fatty acids and relatively high activity for transesterification of triglycerides, which make up the oil phase of the brown grease. The catalyst is synthesized using a tri-block copolymer template that leads to mesopores with diameters narrowly centered at 11.1nm. Residual solids, which make up roughly 10% of the brown grease, were found by elemental analysis to be a hydrogen rich feedstock, with H/Ceff ratio greater than wood or sugar. Preliminary gasification and pyrolysis experiments illustrate nearly 100% conversion of the residual solids. Fast pyrolysis in a drop tube furnace at 600°C produced oil consisting predominantly of long chain hydrocarbons.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Building and Construction
- Mechanical Engineering
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law