Biofuel for the ship's tank

22. June 2020

Until now, shipping has been anything but environmentally friendly, as its fuels produce large amounts of carbon dioxide, soot and other air pollutants. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT) want to change this. They have developed a biofuel that is produced from plant waste and produces less harmful exhaust gases when burnt. To do this, plant waste is first fermented into alcohol. "Whether straw, leaves, sawdust or waste wood - we can use almost anything as a raw material for the bioethanol," explains team leader Andreas Menne. The alcohol is then vaporised and passed through activated carbon coated with a catalyst. This turns the ethanol into hydrocarbons that can be further processed into fuels such as marine diesel.

Tests have shown that this biofuel releases fewer air pollutants and up to 30 per cent less carbon dioxide. The technology is already market-ready and easy to implement for marine diesel: "Our process is so uncomplicated that shipping companies could produce their own diesel," says Menne. "Then the days of big stinkers would soon be over."

Source: bild der wissenschaft 07-2020


Biofuels Switzerland
Swiss Biofuels Association
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CH-4450 Sissach