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Home » Feedstocks, Germany, Not Agriculture, Process, R & D Focus, University/College Programs

Bio-Fuel from Waste: Zeolite Catalysts Pave the Road to Decentral Chemical Processes

Submitted by on July 7, 2017 – 7:00 pmNo Comment

(Technical University of Munich)  Fuel from waste? It is possible. But hitherto, converting organic waste to fuel has not been economically viable. Excessively high temperatures and too much energy are required. Using a novel catalyst concept, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now managed to significantly reduce the temperature and energy requirements of a key step in the chemical process. The trick: The reaction takes place in very confined spaces inside zeolite crystals.

Ever more electricity is produced decentralized using wind, hydro and solar power plants. “It thus makes sense to decentralize chemical production, as well,” thinks Prof. Johannes Lercher, who heads the Chair of Technical Chemistry II at TU Munich. “Theoretically, any municipality could produce its own fuel or fertilizer.”

To date, this has not been possible because chemical processes require a great deal of energy – more than local renewable energy sources can provide. “We thus aimed at findinding new processes to lay the foundations for the distributed production of chemicals, which can be powered using renewable energy sources,” explains the chemist, who is also Director of the American Institute for Integrated Catalysis at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

In the laboratory, the scientists demonstrated that the temperature required for splitting carbon-oxygen bonds in acidic aqueous solution can be drastically reduced using zeolite crystals. The process also ran much faster than without the zeolite catalysts.  READ MORE   Abstract 1 (Nature Communications)   Abstract 2 (Nature Communications)

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