Biodiesel Study in the International Context Using Technology Prospecting

Read the full post in the ACS Green Chemistry blog.

Concerns regarding the environment and growing necessity of technology to extract energy resources have been leading to a search for alternative energy resources, among which biofuels are the most studied nowadays. Biodiesel has been in the spotlight in the recent years.

Any vegetable oil extracted from oilseed can be used as a feedstock to biodiesel production (1). Recently, microorganisms have also been a topic of academic studies with the most diverse approaches, from the use of such microorganisms as lipid resources (2,3,4) to their genetic modification to produce biodiesel working as a biocatalyst (5). Some studies even suggest the use of animal fat wastes (AFWs) as feedstock in order to lower feedstock costs while simultaneously eschewing feedstock which might threaten food safety (6).Efforts have also been made to produce biodiesel using waste cooking oil.

Transesterification via basic homogeneous catalysis is the main industrial route for biodiesel production but today, different kinds of heterogeneous catalysts have been studied as a potential alternative to the previous method. Scientists have been searching for raw glycerin applications since raw byproduct generated during transesterification has a low value and its purification is sophisticated and expensive.(7) The aim of this work is to find the most relevant research and innovation concerning biodiesel all over the world and the perspectives about the future. An effective way to summarize these studies is by analyzing what the results indicate about the degree of maturity of the international biodiesel industry and how different regions of the globe are inserted in this scenario.

Green chemistry in higher education

The ACS Green Chemistry blog has three recent posts relating to green chemistry in higher education. Two are case studies and one is a more general post. They are:

Water Footprint of Hydraulic Fracturing

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We evaluated the overall water footprint of hydraulic fracturing of unconventional shale gas and oil throughout the United States based on integrated data from multiple database sources. We show that between 2005 and 2014, unconventional shale gas and oil extraction used 708 billion liters and 232 billion liters of water, respectively. From 2012 to 2014, the annual water use rates were 116 billion liters per year for shale gas and 66 billion liters per year for unconventional oil. Integrated data from 6 to 10 years of operation yielded 803 billion liters of combined flowback and produced water from unconventional shale gas and oil formations. While the hydraulic fracturing revolution has increased water use and wastewater production in the United States, its water use and produced water intensity is lower than other energy extraction methods and represents only a fraction of total industrial water use nationwide.

Nature Works Everywhere Garden Grants

The Nature Works Everywhere program is currently accepting applications for garden grants during the 2015–16 school year. Grants will be given in the amount of $1,000–$2,000 dependent upon the needs of the project. Funds may be used to support the building, amendment, or revitalization of gardens on school campuses, with preference given to rain, pollinator, native habitat, and other natural infrastructure projects. Food gardens will also be funded.

For all details including timeline, activities, requirements, grant benefits, and eligibility, please refer to the Garden Grant Description document. Commitment letters from the project lead and your school administrator are required. For questions, email natureworks@tnc.org. Apply online by October 28, 2015.

Edelman ends work with coal producers and climate change deniers

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The world’s biggest public relations company has decided it will no longer work with coal producers and climate change deniers.

Edelman said it believes such clients pose a threat to the company’s legitimacy and its bottom line.

Exxon’s Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels’ Role in Global Warming Decades Ago

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

Top executives were warned of possible catastrophe from greenhouse effect, then led efforts to block solutions.

Advancing Safer Chemicals in Products: The Key Role of Purchasing

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This report describes the potentially harmful environmental and health impacts associated with some of the chemicals in products commonly used by public agencies and businesses, and how six organizations—Seattle City Light, Oregon Environmental Council, Perkins+Will, Danish retailer Coop, Kaiser Permanente, and the National Institutes of Health — are taking leadership roles to identify and screen out toxic substances in the products they purchase. The report discusses the role that ecolabels play in helping purchasers source safer products, and also the lessons learned from the experiences of these leading organizations who have gone beyond ecolabels.

Among the lessons learned are:

  • Understand and identify the potentially harmful substances in the products your organization is purchasing, and set priorities to phase them out
  • Create a strong toxics reduction policy based on these priorities, and follow up with specifications that will put your policy into action
  • Include a broad range of chemicals and products
  • Engage employees and suppliers in your efforts to ensure that your goals are understood, safer products identified, and there are open channels for feedback
  • Build a broad network that can help you understand changing science and keep up with best practices.