Russian scientists discover method to convert food waste into biofuels

November 19, 2017 |

In Russia, scientists from Skoltech and the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Joint Institute for High Temperatures proposed a new way to convert food waste into biofuel via hydrothermal liquefaction – a thermal depolymerization process used to turn wet biomass into oil. Other researchers use carbohydrates fermentation or fat transesterification for biofuel production but since only part of their respective biomasses are converted to fuel, the leftovers remain to be disposed of and doesn’t solve the food waste issue.

Trying to solve the food waste issue, Skoltech scientists theorized that hydrothermal liquefaction presented a uniquely energy-efficient and universal option. In particular, this method makes it possible to produce biofuel directly from wet biomass. Notably, it is best to convert the wet biomass before it dries, as the drying process consumes a considerable amount of energy. They experimented with various types of food waste, including parmesan cheese, ham and apples. Knowledge of the molecular composition of products obtained as a result of hydrothermal liquefaction will allow scientists to develop the most optimal methods for their subsequent processing to produce fuel suitable for powering cars.

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Category: Research

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