Biofuel boost

A biofuel additive developed by researchers at Flinders University in Australia could boost biofuel use following the product’s recent commercialisation.


A biofuel additive developed by researchers at Flinders University in Australia could boost biofuel use following the product’s commercialisation by the university’s industry partners, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Midfield Group and Food Processing Equipment (FPE).


The additive lowers the temperature at which tallow-based biodiesel solidifies – a problem that causes fuel-flow difficulties and has constrained the take-up of biofuels made from the waste products of abattoirs.


Dr Stephen Clarke, leader of Flinders Materials and Bioenergy Group, said: ‘There is a huge potential market for tallow-based biofuels, with the current consumption of petroleum diesel being around 15 billion litres annually in Australia.


‘The additive that Flinders has developed removes one of the major impediments to the use of tallow-based biofuels and this market could expand considerably, perhaps to around one billion litres a year, when our product can be added to biofuel blends.’


Flinders’ industry partner, Meat and Livestock Australia, has secured a provisional patent over the university’s additive that can lower the solidification temperature of tallow-based biodiesel or diesel blends by about 5oC, to around -6oC. The temperature difference will boost the potential to use tallow-based biofuel in colder parts of Australia and cooler climates in Europe and elsewhere.


Meat and Livestock Australia is commercialising Flinders’ additive with industry partners the Midfield Group and Food Processing Equipment.


Dr Clarke’s research team will play a key role in that process as they scale up the production of the additive from laboratory to commercial quantities.