291971 A Renewable Process for Producing Low-Cost Biofuel and Biochar for Rural West Africa

Monday, October 29, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
William Croft, Chemical Engineering, University of Kentucky, Paducah, KY

A renewable process for producing low-cost Biofuel and Biochar for Rural West Africa

In many developing countries overpopulation is an obstacle. Due to overpopulation, resources are scarce and the well being of the environment is not considered. Deforestation is a common issue in countries such as Cameroon, Africa, where the land is being cleared for farming. Crop yields are low because of infertile soil and the lack of modern day techniques. Mixing biochar with the soil helps to retain water and nutrients. The biochar is derived from waste or scrap woods, which are placed into a processor and reacted until the woods become biochar. This process has a byproduct of wood gases. After the methanol is separated from the gas the wood oils can be used as an environmentally friendly pesticide for local crops. With the use of biochar and wood oils, increased crop yields will reduce the need for deforestation. The methanol collected in this process can be used to make biodiesel. Biodiesel can be made using the same kiln as the biochar processor with a different reactor insert. This process requires waste oil, methanol, and a catalyst (sodium hydroxide). The reaction is run to completion and yields biodiesel and glycerin. The biodiesel can be used to power generators or basic utility vehicles. After the methanol is separated from the glycerin it can be used to make soap or it can be mixed with biochar and pressed into briquettes. These two renewable processes aid natives in improving the environment and quality of life for their village.

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