Synthesis and Combustion Analysis of Biofuels from Waste Dates | AIChE

Synthesis and Combustion Analysis of Biofuels from Waste Dates

At present, about 85% of the world’s energy demand is being met by non-renewable sources of energy. Due to the limited resources and huge environmental impact from their combustion, there is a need to gradually shift from non-renewable to renewable and carbon-neutral sources of energy such as biomass-derived fuels (biofuels). For this reason, the production of liquid biofuels from carbohydrate-rich energy crops is the focus of intensive research. This paper presents a novel pathway for the synthesis of a liquid biofuel, 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF), from waste dates. DMF is an oxygenated fuel with high energy content (similar to gasoline), and can be produced from glucose and fructose, which are major components in dates, through a catalytic process. A two-step process is suggested in which the sugars are initially converted to 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), and then, the HMF is converted to DMF. The process requires the usage of a biphasic system in which the date extract is firstly heated with alumina catalyst (AlCl3.6H2O). The organic layer containing HMF is then refluxed over a carbon supported palladium catalyst to produce DMF. A combustion analysis of DMF/gasoline blends is presented, where the effect of DMF on reducing the pollutant emission tendency of gasoline is seen.