New biofuels technology developed by North Carolina State University engineers has the potential to turn virtually any fat source, such as animal fat, into fuel for jet planes.
The technology, called Centiaâ„¢, is â€œ100% green,â€ as no petroleum-derived products are added to the process. Centiaâ„¢ can also be used to make additives for cold-weather biodiesel fuels and holds the potential to fuel automobiles that currently run on gasoline.The technology has been licensed by Diversified Energy Corp., a privately held Arizona company specializing in the development of advanced alternative and renewable energy technologies and projects.
Dr. William Roberts, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the Applied Energy Research Laboratory at NC State, says â€œWe can take virtually any lipid-based feedstock, or raw material with a fat source – including what is perceived as low-quality feedstock like cooking grease – and turn it into virtually any fuel.â€ The fuel created by the new process also burns cleaner, so it’s better for the environment, Roberts adds. There is no soot or particulate matter associated with fuel from fats.
â€œWe produce one-and-a-half billion gallons of animal fats annually, which is about half of the amount of vegetable oil produced yearly,â€ Roberts said. â€œAnimal fats are harder to work with, but cheaper. Last year, for the first time ever, fuel costs in the aviation industry exceeded labor costs. We think the aviation industry is keen on finding alternatives to petroleum-based jet fuel.â€