Discoveries in the Making
A refined and re-defining fuel
It can be easy to think of diesel fuel as being just another non-renewable source of energy, extracted from crude oil and generating emissions that contribute to pollution and climate change. However, diesel can also be derived from organic sources such as vegetable oils and animal fats, containing none of the sulphur or petrochemical compounds found in conventional fossil fuels. Known as biodiesel, it is renewable, biodegradable, and best of all, will run in any diesel engine on the road today. Dr. Marc Dubé, who chairs the Department of Chemical Engineering, and his colleague Professor André Tremblay, are seeking to make this alternative even more attractive by improving the methods for producing it. As part of the Ottawa Biodiesel Research Group, they have developed a new reactor to produce higher purity biodiesel from waste oils, such as those used by restaurants to fry foods. By employing a semi-permeable membrane, they have introduced a physical barrier that prevents most process impurities from finding their way into the final product. The result is a biodiesel fuel of exceptional quality which meets all international fuel standards, giving it a competitive advantage in the crowded market for automotive fuels.
Dr. Marc Dubé, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
tel: (613) 562-5920