KARACHI: Karachi engineers have found an easy and inexpensive way to produce environmentally friendly biodiesel from used edible oil.
According to a private news agency, following the research of the country’s renowned teachers on biodiesel at NED (Nadirshaw Edulji Dinshaw University of Engineering and Technology) and Dawood Engineering University, young engineers have come up with a way to make biodiesel by refining used edible oil up to 93%. The biodiesel produced in this way can be used in power generators and heavy-duty vehicles.
Speaking to a private news agency, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of startup Bio-Being, Ali Riaz said that used edible oil goes through a process of ‘transesterification’, from which the hydrocarbons are separated from the fat element (glycerin). Thus, biodiesel also produces glycerin for industrial use in the cosmetics industry. According to ScienceDirect, transesterification is defined as the “chemical conversion process of triglycerides with alcohol into alkyl esters with the help of a catalyst”. The process is an eco-friendly process, usually carried out under “mild conditions” to produce “biodiesel from a variety of feedstocks” added, ScienceDirect.
“The process usually takes 24 hours”, Riaz said, “but the team, with the guidance of their teachers, found a way to convert edible oil into biodiesel in just one hour. This biodiesel produced by Bio-Being has more heat and energy than ordinary diesel”.
Ali Riaz said that once the edible oil is used for frying, it starts producing carcinogens. The number of carcinogens is increased with repeated use of edible oil, which is harmful and a cause of cancer for the user.
According to Ali Riaz, the edible oil discarded after use by high-end restaurants is usually reused by stall owners and smaller shops, which is a threat to public health. He added that so far, his team has spent Rs. 1.5 million from its own resources on the test plant and has raised another Rs. 1 million to promote the project. However, they need to invest an additional Rs 5 million to set up a large plant other than land.
“Not only is the biodiesel produced from edible oil more environmentally friendly than ordinary diesel”, he said, “this will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 78% and nitrogen emissions by 84%. On the contrary, converting edible oil into biodiesel will save a lot of foreign exchange spent on diesel imports and will also help in protecting the environment”.
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