Efficient New Catalyst Allows Biodiesel Made from Used Cooking Oil and Ag Waste

Researchers at Australia’s RMIT University have discovered a new type of ultra-efficient catalyst that can make low-carbon biodiesel and other valuable complex molecules out of diverse, impure raw materials. This new catalyst can make biodiesel from low-grade feedstocks containing up to 50% contaminants, whereas today’s commercial processes require oil that’s 98% pure. The new catalyst is sponge-like, and modeled after the way that enzymes in human cells coordinate complex chemical reactions. It’s the first time a multi-functional catalyst has been developed that can perform several chemical reactions in sequence within a single catalyst particle. RMIT reports that making low-carbon biodiesel from agricultural waste with these catalysts requires little more than a large container, some gentle heating, and stirring.