Monday, July 16, 2012

Can BioPro Diesel be the green energy alternative?

Few days ago Bernama carried an interesting article about BioPro Diesel, claimed to a breakthrough fuel invented by researchers from University of Malaya. If it is true to what the BioPro is billed for, this could probably solve the issues of palm oil wastes and pollution related to wastes disposal.

BioPro Diesel
Photo: Faculty of Engineering, News & Events - UM

The super-clean diesel

BioPro diesel is derived from palm oil waste through bioprocess, i.e. using enzymes in a low pressure, low temperature process.

Codename      : Biopro Diesel TM, or BPD100
Cost               : RM1.50/litre
Unique feat     : 100% from palm oil waste (compare: biodiesel is 80% diesel and 20% palm oil)
Compliance    : Euro 2M and Euro 4M emission standards
Acid content   : 0.2 mg/KOH/g
                      (compare: other EURO 2M/4M compliant diesel have recorded a max. 0.25 mg/KOH/g)

Comparative studies between BioPro Diesel and conventional diesel

Vehicle used                     : 10-year-old Mitsubishi pickup
Method                             : driven to travel 100 km
Using conventional diesel   : costs RM28 (US$9)
Using BioPro (BPD100)     : costs RM16 (US$5)
Saving                              : up to 45%
Engine RPM                     : lower by 500rpm when using BioPro Diesel

Others advantages:
      - lesser soot, less polluting
      - will not clog fuel filters
      - can be used in any diesel engines with no modification needed

Big potential

Malaysia currently has about 420 palm oil mills mostly located in Johor, Sabah and Selangor, the potential is huge. UM scientists estimated that based on BioPro price of RM1.50/liter, total revenue from these palm oil mills could be up to RM40 billion per year.

The investment? RM12 million is needed for a palm oil affluent process plant to produce 25 tonnes of BioPro diesel daily. The byproducts created during the extraction process can be used as fertilizer and water, which can then be reused at other industry applications.

TheGreenMechanics' two cents: If this alternative fuel is super-clean, cheaper and can readily replace the conventional fossil diesel, they should speed it up and let us start using it immediately. Don't limit ourself to just the palm oil effluent, let's use some end-product palm oil as well.

References: further readings at -
Bernama -
Faculty of Engineering, UM -


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