26 April, 2007

Salt-Cracking Biodiesel

I've just seen this in my searches but I don't know if I'm convinced. There are several companies that claim to be able to do this, here's one, but I wouldn't know if I would trust a diesel engine to this technology. Also, of course, there's the energy balance requirement, i.e. is it cheaper in terms of initial energy to produce several kilos of salt and then use an electric blender to crack the oil or will it turn out cheaper in energy terms to use the traditional KaOH method?

I've read that the magic crystals will absorb the ionic parts (like salts and alkalis) out of the fuel but that introduces another stage that needs energy to produce, being the crystals. (And if there's a way to re-use them, that too will cost energy.)

Plus, I wonder what the effect of pouring salty fuel into an engine? Since that can happen, if the absorbent crystals are spent or you don't do a good enough job of cleaning the fuel.

My money's on making biodiesel by whatever methods you find most useful, then washing it with water and evaporating the water out, preferably using solar energy. I still haven't had a chance to play with the technology yet but it's on my list, and then I'll try a variety of methods and keep you posted on the cleanest and most economically produced diesel. This will take a while but I will do it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I am in the process of starting experimentation with salt cracking on a very little scale. I will use several process/test techniques to see if it is the real McCoy. The Acusorb beads make sense, but the regeneration fumes on a neighborhood setting concerns me. At least the salt/methanol technique could be used without letting your neighbors be too concerned. My test will be done at the lab I work for in my spare time. I will post any progress.


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