Fueled towards a promising future
Having reduced dependence on imported crude oil and the ongoing search for alternative energy sources are some of the most important global challenges today. Among the plethora of alternative energy options, one stands out from the rest.
Biodiesel, a category of biofuels, has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as dependency on non-renewable fossil fuel imports. Made from plant or animal based feedstocks, it can be blended with the regular diesel oil without modification to the engines. It can also double as a heating oil. Known to reduce carbon dioxide emission by as much as 78% as compared to regular diesel, biodiesel burns much cleaner while despite having only 88-95% of the energy content vis-a-vis the regular mineral diesel. In many countries worldwide, this environmentally-friendly fuel is now a mandatory addition to mineral diesel.
As a case in point, the Indonesian government has adopted a regulation requiring that diesel fuel mixes used for industrial and commercial purposes have a blend of 15 percent biodiesel within the mixture.
Indonesia has great potential for development and utilization of bioenergy. The local government has been developing integrated strategy and investment incentives to pursue in additive biofuel development and to maximize the profitability of the biofuel market. Biodiesel manufactured in Indonesia is currently being exported to countries such as the United States, Japan and China etc.
With direct application of Evonik’s sodium methylate 30% solution in methanol (NM 30) and potassium methylate 32% solution in methanol (KM 32) as catalysts, the production of biodiesel is simple and efficient.
Both catalysts NM 30 and KM 32 can be used in anhydrous production processes and directly from the storage tank – in a closed circuit and without any additional intermediary steps. This will help to reduce handling risks to the absolute minimum. In addition, by using a small quantity of these catalysts, used cooking oils (UCO) or vegetable oils can already be transformed into biodiesel through a chemical reaction called trans-esterification of methanol and the fatty acids. Hence NM 30 and KM 32 have always been the preferred alkoxide catalysts.
The powerful alkoxides from Evonik also pay off by increasing biodiesel yields from 2% to 5%, and generate higher-purity glycerol, which makes an important contribution to the cost-effectiveness of a biodiesel plant.
Produced in the powdered form, Sodium methoxide is also used in the pharmaceutical industry as a as a building block - for methylation reactions - in the organic synthesis of APIs, agrochemicals (technical) and polymers.