The requirement of biofuels is definitely required so as to meet the fuel needs Hence, many bio feedstock are under research, many are giving promising results; yet there are bottlenecks faced by the researchers in making these feedstock commercially viable.
Previously, First-generation feedstock were widely researched for fuel purposes, taking into consideration the food-fuel debate those feedstock are being avoided and more priority is given to the second-generation and the third generation feedstock. These seconds genration feedstock include weed such as Miscanthus or Camelina, whose biofuel potential was deciphered in the recent past. Recently, the use of algae which is a third generation feedstock is being widely researched due to the advantage offered by it to grow even in waste water.
Higlighted below are the feedstock which are believed to have a great potential in yielding oil in the near future. They are as follows:
Soy oil is used in about 60 percent of the biodiesel made in the United States today, but that is expected to change in the near future.
Dozens of potential feedstocks have been tested and many show promise.
With a grant from the Iowa Power Fund, Renewable Energy Group – an Ames, Iowa-based biodiesel company – tested 34 feedstocks.
The feedstocks included two types of algae, beef tallow, borage, camelina, canola, castor, choice white grease, coconut, coffee, corn oil, cuphea, evening primrose, fish, hemp, linseed, mustard, palm, poultry, rice bran, soybean, sunflower, used cooking oil and yellow grease.
Some lesser-known feedstocks were also tested:Each feedstock was tested for 15 characteristics, including moisture, free fatty acid, oxidative stability and cloud point.
Babassu oil – Extracted from the seeds of the babassu palm tree, the babassu is common in Brazil, Mexico and Honduras. The kernels are 60-70 percent oil.
Hepar oil – A byproduct of the heparin manufacturing process, hepar oil is derived from the mucosal tissues of animals, such as pig intestines and cow lungs.
Jatropha oil – From a shrub also known as the physic nut, jatropha is native to Mexico, Central America, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Paraguay.
Jojoba oil – An evergreen perennial shrub that grows in Arizona and Mexico, jojoba dehulled seeds contain 44 percent liquid wax.
Karanja oil – A medium-sized evergreen tree that grows in India, karanja seed contains 27-39 percent oil.
Fendler’s bladderpod oil – Also known as Lesquerella, Fendler’s bladderpod is used similarly to castor oil.
Moringa oleifera oil – Native to India, Africa, Arabia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific, South America and the Philippines, Moringa seeds contain between 33 and 41 percent oil.
Neem oil – A large evergreen tree found in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia, Japan and tropical regions in Australia, neem kernels contain 40-50 percent acrid green to brown-colored oil.
Perilla oil – Cultivated in China, Korea, Japan and India, the perilla plant’s seeds contain 35-45 percent oil.
Stillingia oil – From the Chinese tallow tree, stillingia seeds contain 45-60 percent oil. The tree is used to prevent soil erosion and grows on marginal land in eastern Asia.
Tung oil – From the tung tree, tung seed is similar to linseed, safflower and soybean oil.
“In our commercial operation, we’re already doing some of the things the ‘Feedstocks Report’ supports. It shows how you can use combinations of feedstocks to meet quality and economic targets for production,” said David Slade, senior manager of technical services for Renewable Energy Group
The report is exciting, because it shows people in the petroleum industry that feedstocks can be used in combinations to meet quality and economic targets for biodiesel production, said Slade.
Eventually, science may find a way to make customized/genetically engineered oils with the properties needed for biodiesel.
Though not there yet, many scientists and biodiesel enthusiasts hope algae can be customized for biodiesel production.
Commercialization of algae is expected in 2013, said Mary Rosenthal, executive director of the Minnesota-based Algal Biomass Organization.
The Algal Biomass Organization has 173 members and was formed to facilitate commercialization and market development of microalgae biomass specifically for biofuels production and greenhouse gas abatement.
It’s not very likely that algae for biodiesel will be raised outside in the northern states, but there are several companies that are looking at raising algae in brackish or non-potable water with access to light and heat.
Algae can be raised in sludge water, wastewater treatment facilities, salt water and outdoor ponds in warm climates.
The young industry has several challenges, though.
Companies that are developing algae biodiesel are keeping the information proprietary at this time. Other challenges include acquiring algae feedstocks, finding ways to make algae biodiesel profitable, and keeping protozoa at bay.
“The other challenges are light and keeping the heat right,” said Rosenthal. “Too much light isn’t good, and will stunt the growth, but not enough will be a problem. If you don’t have enough water, that’s an issue too.”
Eventually, algae could be raised in conjunction with animal waste lagoons, she added. Algae can use the carbon dioxide and nutrients from waste to grow rapidly, creating a symbiotic relationship.