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Shrimp Shells for Biodiesel

by the Fish Site Editor
15 July 2009, at 1:00am

CHINA - Researchers in China are using shrimp shells to form a cheap and effective catalyst to produce biodiesel.

The biodegradeable shrimp shells are the waste product from the food processing industry - made from chitin, a protein with a porous structure.

Linguo Yang and Xinsheng Zheng of Hua Zhong Agriculture University and Aiqing Zhang of HuBei Province South-Central University for Nationalities, produced the catalyst by partially carbonising shrimp shell at a temperature of 450°C.

According to a report in The Chemical Engineer the optimum loading of potassium fluoride (KF) was 25 weight percentage and the optimum activation temperature was 250°C.

The scientists used the shrimp shell catalyst to catalyse the transesterification of rapeseed oil with methanol.

They found that the highest conversion of 89.1 per cent was achieved at a temperature of 65°C, with 2.5 weight percentage of catalyst, a methanol:rapeseed oil ratio of 9:1 and a reaction time of three hours, TCE says.

The catalytic activity is thought to come from activation sites formed when KF reacts with partially-carbonised shrimp shell during the activation process.

the Fish Site Editor