Biodiesel Production for aviation (BIOPROAV)

Project facts

Project promoter
Complutense University of Madrid
Project Number:
Target groups
Researchers or scientists
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:
From EEA Grants:
€ 63,833
The project is carried out in:


Incorporating biofuels in the aircraft technology would reduce drastically the CO2 emissions with respect to 2005 levels. The objective of the project is making a comparative study between two different processes (UCM-UMB) to obtain biodiesel for aviation. Also, the economic viability and the environmental impact will be studied. From the results obtained, a kinetic modeling will be obtained in order to have mathematical tools to scale up the results to industrial production. This new catalytic technology could be used to produce biodiesel from non-edible oils on industrial scale. The Norwegian group is expert in kinetic modeling and economic optimization in the biodiesel process and the UCM research group is expert in the use of design of experiments and response surface methodology. These mathematical tools for the technological and economic optimization will be exchanged in this project. The Norwegian research group presents the originality of the use of solid organic high oil content materials whose market price is highly competitive.

Summary of project results

Main goal of the project has been the development of new Green technologies for partial substitution of fossil fuels. Two different approaches haven been conducted, each one by a predoctoral student mentored by senior researchers from both participating institutions: a) The use of waste to produce biofuels could mean the beginning of a new improved technology in olive oil extraction plants and also the use of avocado seeds to produce biodiesel would increase exponentially the valorization of this waste in few years. During the project, the following activities were performed: 1) Lipid extraction from olive stones and avocado seeds through two methods: Conventional Soxhlet method and Parr Pressure Reactor. These extractions meant the first approach in order to establish a new future experimentation in simultaneous extraction/reaction process. 2) Improvement of the Jojoba oil methanolysis using a renewable catalysts (calcined mussel shells) using a pressurized reactor in order to reduce as much as possible the reaction time. b) Optimization of biodiesel production from waste salmon oil: design and economic assessment of a low capacity plant. The aim was to propose a complete method for ethyl esters production form oil via heterogeneous catalysis. The use of ethanol, a react and that can be obtained from renewable feedstocks, renders difficult the phase separation after transesterification. Furthermore, solid calcium-based catalysts can be obtained from cheap feedstocks and present high catalytic activity but its use involves the need of further purification operations in order to remove calcium ions. During the project, a techno-economic analysis of a low-sale biodiesel plant was conducted. Results are made public in several publications that were in preparation at the end of the funding period, as well as in the PhD Thesis submitted by Marta Serrano Martínez. Main beneficiaries of the project results may be the pharmaceutical companies as the production of monounsaturated alcohols from jojoba oil (or jojobyl alcohols) will be much affordable when the reaction time of the process is reduced to a half. Also, the olive and avocado oil producers would be able to benefit from part of this study because the valorization of the waste generated from these companies could be used to obtain biodiesel due to the presence of Free Fatty Acids from the extracted products.

Summary of bilateral results

The NILS funding has permitted the exchange of knowledge and the technical means between the two research groups involved. University Complutense of Madrid has provided the expertise in designing experiments and the NMBU has contributed with its expertise in kinetic modelling and economic plant studies. Both UCM and NMBU have provided laboratory facilities. This cooperation is leading to the publication of several papers in major international journals. Besides, it has already been an opportunity to present interim results within several international and national conferences both in Norway and in Spain.