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Fatty acid methyl ester (biodiesel)


Technology Description

Fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) biodiesel is produced by reacting either vegetable oil (soybean, palm, rapeseed) or waste oils (animal fats, used cooking oils) with methanol in the presence of a catalyst. The transesterification reaction of the triglycerides found within the oils produces biodiesel and glycerine. The biodiesel and glycerine undergo a series of purification and separation steps to clean the final products and to recover the catalyst and any remaining methanol. Glycerine can be sold to the pharmaceutical industry. The biodiesel can be blended up to 5-7% with fossil diesel for use in road transport, or can be blended up to 100% for use in marine diesel engines.

Relevance for Net Zero

Compared to fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) biodiesel's blending limit, there are other drop-in biofuels that can use existing infrastructure more efficiently. Additionally, there are sustainability limits to oilseed crop feedstock and inherent limitations to waste oil feedstock that limit the overall potential for growth.

Key Countries

Europe, Indonesia, United States, Brazil, Germany, Argentina, France

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