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Special Issue "Optimization of Biodiesel, Methanol and Methane Production and Air Quality Improvement"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy and Environment".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2019).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. João Fernando Pereira Gomes
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering (ADEQ), Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa (ISEL), R. Conselheiro Emídio Navarro, 1959-007 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: chemical technology; unit operations; heterogeneous catalysis; air pollution; air pollution abatement; nanotoxicology; energy; syngas and biodiesel production; clean processes; clean energy; CO2 capture and sequestration
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Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Alternative and renewable energy sources play a very decisive role in the development of human society. They contribute to fulfilling the increasing energy demands from both industrialized and under development countries, as well as economic needs, which must comply with a decarbonized economy and decrease the energy impact on the global environment. Among these alternative energy sources, fuels such as biodiesel, methanol and methane are good examples of how the previous design could be achieved, as these fuels can be obtained from renewable sources, used in applications such as transportation systems, electricity generation, fuel conversion, and even electricity storage, with a reduced impact on air emissions.

Although a great deal of research has been done and there have important advances in recent years, there is a need to increase the research. In particular, there is a need for the further development of new approaches, and their optimization and practical compatibilization with existing systems, so that they are cost competitive and truly effective and will be adopted by energy stakeholders.

For this Special Issue, we invite papers on new and innovative technical developments or approaches, reviews, case studies, as well as assessments, and papers from different disciplines, which are relevant to the optimization of biodiesel and methane/methanol production systems, simultaneously resulting in air quality improvement.

Prof. Dr. João Fernando Pereira Gomes
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • biodiesel
  • methane
  • methanol
  • optimization
  • renewable energy

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Soybean Oil Transesterification for Biodiesel Production with Micro-Structured Calcium Oxide (CaO) from Natural Waste Materials as a Heterogeneous Catalyst
Energies 2019, 12(24), 4670; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12244670 - 09 Dec 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 967
Abstract
In this study, micro-structured calcium oxide obtained from the calcination (850 °C for 3 h) of Gallus gallus domesticus (chicken) eggshells was used as a catalyst in the transesterification of soybean oil. This catalyst was characterized by Scanning Electron Spectroscopy (SEM) methods. The [...] Read more.
In this study, micro-structured calcium oxide obtained from the calcination (850 °C for 3 h) of Gallus gallus domesticus (chicken) eggshells was used as a catalyst in the transesterification of soybean oil. This catalyst was characterized by Scanning Electron Spectroscopy (SEM) methods. The structure of the obtained CaO showed several agglomerates of white granular solids with a non-regular and unsymmetrical shape. In terms of calcium oxide catalytic activity, three different catalyst loadings (1%wt, 3%wt, and 5%wt) were tested for the same reaction conditions, resulting in transesterification yields of 77.27%wt, 84.53%wt, and 85.83%wt respectively. The results were compared to the current literature, and whilst they were lower, they were promising, allowing us to conclude that the tendency of yield improvement for this reaction, when the size range of catalyst particles is to be reduced to a nano scale, can be verified. Full article
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Article
Preliminary Study on the Use of Biodiesel Obtained from Waste Vegetable Oils for Blending with Hydrotreated Kerosene Fossil Fuel Using Calcium Oxide (CaO) from Natural Waste Materials as Heterogeneous Catalyst
Energies 2019, 12(22), 4306; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12224306 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1954
Abstract
In this experimental work, calcium from natural seafood wastes was used as a heterogeneous catalyst separately or in a blend of “shell mix” for producing biodiesel. Several chemical reaction runs were conducted at varied reaction times ranging from 30 min to 8 h, [...] Read more.
In this experimental work, calcium from natural seafood wastes was used as a heterogeneous catalyst separately or in a blend of “shell mix” for producing biodiesel. Several chemical reaction runs were conducted at varied reaction times ranging from 30 min to 8 h, at 60 °C, with a mass content of 5% (Wcat./Woil) and a methanol/oil molar ratio of 12. After the purification process, the biodiesel with fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) weight content measured was higher than 99%, which indicated that it was a pure biodiesel. This work also showed that the inorganic solid waste shell mixture used as the heterogeneous catalyst can be reused three times and the reused mixture still resulted in a FAME content higher than 99%. After 40 different transesterification reactions were performed using liquid (waste cooking oils) and solid (calcium seafood shells) wastes for producing biodiesel, under the specific conditions stated above, we found a successful, innovative, and promising way to produce biodiesel. In addition, blends prepared with jet fuel A1 and biodiesel were recorded with no invalid results after certain tests, at 25 °C. In this case, except for the 10% blend, the added biodiesel had no significant effect on the viscosity (fluidity) of the biojet fuel. Full article
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Article
Techno-Economic Performance of Different Technological Based Bio-Refineries for Biofuel Production
Energies 2019, 12(20), 3916; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12203916 - 16 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 736
Abstract
There are different technologies for biodiesel production, each having its benefits and drawbacks depending on the type of feedstock and catalyst used. In this study, the techno-economic performances of four catalyst technologies were investigated. The catalysts were bulk calcium oxide (CaO), enzyme, nano-calcium [...] Read more.
There are different technologies for biodiesel production, each having its benefits and drawbacks depending on the type of feedstock and catalyst used. In this study, the techno-economic performances of four catalyst technologies were investigated. The catalysts were bulk calcium oxide (CaO), enzyme, nano-calcium oxide, and ionic liquid. The study was mainly based on process simulations designed using Aspen Plus and SuperPro software. The quantity and quality of biodiesel and glycerol, as well as the amount of biodiesel per amount of feedstock, were the parameters to evaluate technical performances. The parameters for economic performances were total investment cost, unit production cost, net present value (NPV), internal return rate (IRR), and return over investment (ROI). Technically, all the studied options provided fuel quality biodiesel and high purity glycerol. However, under the assumed market scenario, the process using bulk CaO catalyst was more economically feasible and tolerable to the change in market values of major inputs and outputs. On the contrary, the enzyme catalyst option was very expensive and economically infeasible for all considered ranges of cost of feedstock and product. The result of this study could be used as a basis to do detail estimates for the practical implementation of the efficient process. Full article
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Article
Towards the Development of Syngas/Biomethane Electrolytic Production, Using Liquefied Biomass and Heterogeneous Catalyst
Energies 2019, 12(19), 3787; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12193787 - 06 Oct 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1049
Abstract
This paper presents results on the research currently being carried out with the objective of developing new electrochemistry-based processes to produce renewable synthetic fuels from liquefied biomass. In the current research line, the gas mixtures obtained from the typical electrolysis are not separated [...] Read more.
This paper presents results on the research currently being carried out with the objective of developing new electrochemistry-based processes to produce renewable synthetic fuels from liquefied biomass. In the current research line, the gas mixtures obtained from the typical electrolysis are not separated into their components but rather are introduced into a reactor together with liquefied biomass, at atmospheric pressure and different temperatures, under acidified zeolite Y catalyst, to obtain synthesis gas. This gaseous mixture has several applications, like the production of synthetic 2nd generation biofuel (e. g., biomethane, biomethanol, bio-dimethyl ether, formic acid, etc.). The behaviour of operational parameters such as biomass content, temperature and the use of different amounts of acidified zeolite HY catalyst were investigated. In the performed tests, it was found that, in addition to the synthesis gas (hydrogen, oxygen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide), methane was also obtained. Therefore, this research is quite promising, and the most favourable results were obtained by carrying out the biomass test at 300 °C, together with 4% of acidified zeolite Y catalyst, which gives a methane volumetric concentration equal to 35%. Full article
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Article
Microalgae Cultivation in Pilot Scale for Biomass Production Using Exhaust Gas from Thermal Power Plants
Energies 2019, 12(18), 3497; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12183497 - 11 Sep 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 977
Abstract
Exhaust gases from thermal power plants have the highest amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), presenting an environmental problem related to a severe impact on ecosystems. Extensively, the reduction of CO2 from thermal power plants has been considered with the aid [...] Read more.
Exhaust gases from thermal power plants have the highest amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), presenting an environmental problem related to a severe impact on ecosystems. Extensively, the reduction of CO2 from thermal power plants has been considered with the aid of microalgae as a cost-effective, sustainable solution, and efficient biological means for recycling of CO2. Microalgae can efficiently uptake CO2 and nutrients resulting in high generation of biomass and which can be processed into different valuable products. In this study, we have taken Nephroselmis sp. KGE8, Acutodesmus obliquus KGE 17 and Acutodesmus obliquus KGE32 microalgae, which are isolated from acid mine drainage and cultivated in a photobiological incubator on a batch scale, and also confirmed that continuous culture was possible on pilot scale for biofuel production. We also evaluated the continuous culture productivity of each cultivate-harvest cycle in the pilot scale. The biomass of the cultivated microalgae was also evaluated for its availability. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Mixed Wastewaters on the Biomass Production and Biochemical Content of Microalgae
Energies 2019, 12(18), 3431; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12183431 - 05 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 851
Abstract
The effect of ammonia and iron concentration in Bold Basal Medium and mixed wastewater (including pretreated piggery wastewater and acid mine drainage) on biomass production and biochemical content (lipid and ß-carotene) of microalgae (Uronema sp. KGE 3) was investigated. Addition of iron [...] Read more.
The effect of ammonia and iron concentration in Bold Basal Medium and mixed wastewater (including pretreated piggery wastewater and acid mine drainage) on biomass production and biochemical content (lipid and ß-carotene) of microalgae (Uronema sp. KGE 3) was investigated. Addition of iron to the Bold Basal Medium enhanced the growth, lipid, and ß-carotene of Uronema sp. KGE 3. The highest dry cell weight, lipid content, and lipid productivity of KGE 3 were 0.551 g L−1, 46% and 0.249 g L−1 d−1, respectively, at 15 mg L−1 of Fe. The highest ß-carotene was obtained at 30 mg L−1 of Fe. The biomass production of KGE 3 was ranged between 0.18 to 0.37 g L−1. The microalgal growth was significantly improved by addition of acid mine drainage to pretreated piggery wastewater by membrane. The highest dry cell weight of 0.51 g L−1 was obtained at 1:9 of pretreated piggery wastewater by membrane and acid mine drainage for KGE 3. The removal efficiencies of total nitrogen and total phosphate was ranged from 20 to 100%. The highest lipid and ß-carotene content was found to be 1:9. Application of this system to wastewater treatment plant could provide cost effective technology for the microalgae-based industries and biofuel production field, and also provide the recycling way for pretreated piggery wastewater and acid mine drainage. Full article
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Review

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Review
Biodiesel Production Processes and Sustainable Raw Materials
Energies 2019, 12(23), 4408; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12234408 - 20 Nov 2019
Cited by 48 | Viewed by 1852
Abstract
Energy security and environmental concerns, related to the increasing carbon emissions, have prompted in the last years the search for renewable and sustainable fuels. Biodiesel, a mixture of fatty acids alkyl esters shows properties, which make it a feasible substitute for fossil diesel. [...] Read more.
Energy security and environmental concerns, related to the increasing carbon emissions, have prompted in the last years the search for renewable and sustainable fuels. Biodiesel, a mixture of fatty acids alkyl esters shows properties, which make it a feasible substitute for fossil diesel. Biodiesel can be produced using different processes and different raw materials. The most common, first generation, biodiesel is produced by methanolysis of vegetable oils using basic or acid homogeneous catalysts. The use of vegetable oils for biodiesel production raises serious questions about biodiesel sustainability. Used cooking oils and animal fats can replace the vegetable oils in biodiesel production thus allowing to produce a more sustainable biofuel. Moreover, methanol can be replaced by ethanol being totally renewable since it can be produced by biomass fermentation. The substitution of homogeneous catalyzed processes, nowadays used in the biodiesel industry, by heterogeneous ones can contribute to improve the biodiesel sustainability with simultaneous cost reduction. From the existing literature on biodiesel production, it stands out that several strategies can be adopted to improve the sustainability of biodiesel. A literature review is presented to underline the strategies allowing to improve the biodiesel sustainability. Full article
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