If biodiesel or other advanced chemicals are required, from the Dafne Plant the methanol is sent to the Pascal Plant to be subjected to transesterification.
Transesterification is a chemical reaction with basic catalysis, the main result of which is the breakdown of the molecules of triglycerides, that is, of the fatty acids that characterize vegetable oil and which are the basis of its high viscosity.
The transesterification process takes place using an alcoholic reagent such as methanol, whose action is reinforced and accelerated by a catalyst. Alcohol, in the presence of a strong base, reacting with fatty acids, produces biodiesel on the one hand and glycerol on the other.
Ultrasonic conversion of biodiesel enables continuous in-line processing with biodiesel yields greater than 99%.
Biodiesel can be used pure or blended as a substitute for diesel fuel in the transport sector and as a fuel for the heating.
From an environmental point of view, biodiesel compared to diesel:
- reduces net emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) by 50% and carbon dioxide by 78.45%;
- does not contain aromatic hydrocarbons;
- PAH emissions are reduced by up to 70%;
- it does not generate SO2 emissions;
- reduces the emission of fine dust by up to 50%;
- it is completely biodegradable.