Biodiesel Waste Reuse Studied

More renewable energy sources are being used in the nation and worldwide to generate liquid energy biofuels. One such example is biodiesel, which is produced from waste cooking oils, commercially produced vegetable oils, or animal fats. In these catalytic conversion processes, the final product is purified with a silicate adsorbent to remove excess feed materials and by-products, such as free glycerin. The resulting saturated silicate filter cake, the primary solid waste material from biodiesel fuel production, is currently disposed of in landfills. During the past year, Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) researchers, including Mei-In Melissa Chou, contacted several biodiesel processing plants in Illinois and started analyzing their solid waste materials for possible value-added applications to replace current land filling. In April 2010, ISGS researchers, a local biodiesel plant, and a potential industrial user met to discuss technical details, including receiving and supplying the waste material.