Fraunhofer IKTS: an alternative use for biogas
Since January 2017, members of a collaborative project between the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (Fraunhofer-Institut für Keramische Technologien und Systeme - IKTS), four companies in Saxony, and
TU Bergakademie Freiberg - The University of Resources have been working on the production of bio waxes at a biogas plant and assessing their economic viability.
As Fraunhofer IKTS reports, biogas plant suppliers and operators rely on revenue received from supplying networks with electricity and biomethane – income that is often insufficient for them. According to the researchers though, economic viability can be achieved by using biogas in a different way. Biogas is made up of methane and carbon dioxide, the latter constituting a waste product that is not used. The expert group’s suggestion is that the carbon dioxide contained in biogas could be used for the synthesis of waxes.
As Dr Erik Reichelt, a scientist at Fraunhofer IKTS, explains: "A possible idea is an alternative use of biogas to produce high-grade chemical products. Converting biogas into bio waxes in this way represents a promising future option for existing biogas plants."
Possible applications of bio waxes in natural cosmetics
According to the researchers from Dresden, the waxes that are obtained can be used as raw materials for the cosmetics industry because they are exceptionally pure. The experts say that they are better tolerated than the petroleum derivatives that are normally used in commercial creams, which means that they could pave the way for lucrative potential applications in the natural cosmetics sector as well.
A demonstration of the process is planned, which will seek to show whether the researchers’ idea can be put into practice. It will be carried out at the biogas plant operated by the company Ökotec.
Source, photo: Fraunhofer IKTS