Additive lowers tallow-based biodiesel cloud point

By Ryan C. Christiansen | October 14, 2008
Web exclusive posted Oct. 28, 2008 at 9:45 a.m. CST

Researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, have developed an additive that lowers the cloud point temperature for biodiesel made from animal fats, which are high in saturated fats. The additive lowers the cloud point for animal-fats-based biodiesel from 50 degrees to 21 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees to minus 6 degrees Celsius), which increases the potential for using biodiesel made from animal fats in colder climates.

The $1 million research project to develop the additive was largely funded by Meat and Livestock Australia, which provides marketing and research services to its 43,500 livestock producer members. MLA has secured a provisional patent for the technology and is partnering to commercialize the additive with The Midfield Group, an Australian meat processor, and Food Processing Equipment, an Australian food processing equipment company.

According to the MLA, the Australian industry currently produces about 600,000 metric tons of animal fats per year, which is primarily used in the manufacturing of soap and synthetic rubber. "There is a huge potential market for tallow-based [biodiesel]," said Dr. Stephen Clarke, the research team's leader and lecturer at Flinders University's School of Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences. "The additive that Flinders has developed removes one of the major impediments to the use of tallow-based [biodiesel]."
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