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APPLICATIONS OF NANOADDITIVES TO IMPROVE BIOFUELS EFFICIENCY Mauricio Heras , Karina Ojeda, and Adriana Herrera* University of Cartagena, Colombia. *Contact information: ABSTRACT


Nanotechnology has demonstrated to have the ability to improve the efficiency of different processes, complement products by adding different features, providing alternatives to the development of the energy sector, provide help against diseases, and get solutions to environmental problems. However, it has not been addressed yet the possible effects of nanomaterials on human health and the environment, which cause a strong concern about the applications of nanoadditives in biofuels. In this presentation we will highlight the breakthroughs that allow the insertion of nanotechnology in the global energy sector, specifically in fuels and biofuels, and equally important the potential impact of nanotechnology on human health and the environment.

The presence of nanoparticles as additives in mixtures of biofuels/fuels improve the air-fuel combustion, reducing emissions of pollutant gases and particulate matter [5]. Aluminum oxide nanoparticles can be used as an additives for biofuels to reduce fuel ignition point, decreasing energy consumption and improving thermal efficiency [1].

NANOTECHNOLOGY IN ENERGY SECTOR Nanotechnology has the potential to improve energy efficiency in all fields of industry and support the production of renewable energy through new technological solutions. Considering the improvements that may be obtained from the use of nanotechnology in different fields of science, and that fossil fuels are a major problem for the environment, discusses the integration of the biofuels industry to nanotechnology [1]. Table 1. Nanoparticles used as additives and catalyst in biofuel industry. NANOPARTICLES




Increase the power output of engines [2]

Magnesium - Aluminium

Improve combustion efficiency [2]

Cobalt Oxide Cerium Oxide

Gold Catalyst Paladium Platinum

Reduce NOx production [2] Catalyse combustion reactions Catalysts for electrooxidation of carbon monooxide and methanol. [3] Allows chemical reactions occur at low temperature [3] Reduce the temperature reaction [3]

NANOPARTICLES AS BIOFUELS CATALYST A catalyst stabilizes emulsions would be highly advantageous in processes like biomass refining, due to the purification process of the product becomes difficult due to its thermal instability and immiscibility. The use of nanoparticles of magnesium oxide (MgO) as a catalyst in the production of biodiesel reduces the waste produced by emulsification and soap production, which allows reducing the use of equipment necessary for the separation of biodiesel and glycerol with waste, and eliminate the costs necessary for the glycerol purification [4].

BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES In energy sector, nanotechnology has various application fields, such as fuel cells, fuel catalyst and additive. The development of nanomaterials in the energy sector, has confirmed that is possible improve biofuel efficiency but at the same time make them more environmentally friendly. However, despite the great benefits obtained from nanotechnology, it is necessary more study of the damage that could cause the nanoparticles in the environment and human health.

CONCLUSIONS Multiple applications where nanotechnology can perform in the energy sector, allow it as a support for the development and improvement worldwide.. The opportunity to improve the biofuel yield, while reduce the environment contamination and production costs eliminating several steps of the conventional process like acid neutralization, water washes and separations, are the reasons that encourage the implementation of this technology. The improvement of some processes and products of the energy sector with the help of nanotechnology is remarkable, but it is necessary to know the consequences of the implementation of these improvements. Is necessary to study deeply the risks of exposure to nanoparticles on humans and the environment.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors are grateful to the University of Cartagena and the Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation Colciencias for their full support during the development of this poster.

REFERENCES [1] D. Ganesh, G. Gowrishanka.r. Effect of nano-fuel additive on emission reduction in a biodiesel fuelled CI engine. IEEEXplore. Sept. 2011. [2] W. Soutter. Nanoparticles as fuel additives. Azonano. [3] B. Roldan Cuenya. Synthesis and catalytic properties of metal nanoparticles: Size, shape, support, composition, and oxidation state effects. Thin Solid Films, Volume 518. April 2010. [4] J. M. Monteroa, D. R. Brownb, P. L. Gaia, A. F. Leec, K. Wilson. In situ studies of structure–reactivity relations in biodiesel synthesis over nanocrystalline MgO. Chemical Engineering Journal. Volumen 161, Jul. 2010. [5] M. Jones, C. H. Li, A. Afjeh. G.P. Peterson. Experimental study of combustion characteristics of nanoscale metal and metal oxide additives in biofuel (ethanol). Nanoscale Research Letters. Volumen 6. Mar. 2011.