The production of biofuel from grapeseed oil and bioethanol, both obtained during the wine production process could reach up to 20 kilotons, about 2% of the biofuel currently consumed in Spain. This is one of the conclusions from a study conducted by researchers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and the University of Castilla la Mancha (UCLM) on the potential of the wine industry waste and co-products for the production of a fully renewable biofuel.
The transport sector contributes about 28% to the world’s primary energy consumption, and more than 90% of its consumption comes from oil. Therefore, using waste materials from the agri-food industry to advance research on new biofuels is an appropriate alternative in the search for solutions.
The grapeseeds contain about 7% oil, which can be extracted by pressing or using solvents
Waste from the wine industry is an interesting raw material for biodiesel in countries with significant wine production. Spain is the third largest producer of wine in the world, with more than 40 million hectoliters. After pressing the grapes to produce wines and musts, the waste is treated to obtain pomace, skins, rasp and grapeseeds. The seeds contain about 7% oil, which can be extracted by pressing or using solvents (such as n-hexane).
The oil of the seeds can be turned into biofuel through the reaction with bioethanol obtained from the production of wine. This method to obtain completely renewable biofuel -generated from ethyl esters of fatty acids- has been devised by a scientific team formed by members of the research group of Environmental Studies of the UPM and the Group of Fuels and Motors of the University of Castilla -La Mancha (GCM-UCLM). As the researchers point out, “the goal of the study has not been to find the best or only source of biofuel, but to increase the diversity of options, as a key to sustainability”.
The properties of this new biofuel are highly satisfactory and stand within the limits established by European and American standards
The properties of this new biofuel are highly satisfactory and stand within the limits established by European and American standards: density and calorific value (this indicates the amount of energy that can be present in a certain volume or deposit of a vehicle); Cetane rating (key parameter on the quality of combustion); viscosity and lubricity (which impact the atomization of the fuel and the correct operation of the injection system); cloud point, spillage or cold filters plugging point -CFPP (measure the behavior of the fuel at low temperatures); and stability to oxidation (related to the number of iodine and the number of unsaturations or double bonds present in the composition of the biofuel).
“The sum of sustainable biofuels generated from several and different raw materials can contribute in a very high percentage to meet the global energy needs for transport, helping to reduce dependence on oil”, the authors of the study conclude.
The group of researchers from the UPM and UCLM responsible for this work is carrying out an ongoing study of indigenous biofuels in collaboration with several companies through the regional project “New components of renewable and indigenous origin for automotive fuels”. The directors and authors of the project ‘Fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs) obtained from grapeseed oil: A fully renewable biofuel. Renewable energy ‘(2019), are David Bolonio, María-Jesús García-Martínez, Marcelo F. Ortega, Magín Lapuerta, Jose Rodríguez-Fernández, Laureano Canoira.