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Crop Biotech Update

ORNL Develops Acid Catalysts from Waste-Tire Carbon

August 16, 2017

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, together with Wake Forest University and Georgia Institute of Technology, has developed a method to use carbon derived from waste tires to convert used cooking oil into usable biofuels.

Using a novel, reusable carbon material derived from old rubber tires, the research team developed a simple method to convert used cooking oil into biofuel. The team's method combines recovered carbon from tires with sulfuric or sulfonic acid, which are then mixed with free fatty acids in vegetable oils to produce biofuel.

Carbon powder from tires have been useful in developing lithium-ion, sodium-ion and potassium-ion batteries and supercapacitors. This new waste oil-to-biofuel conversion adds a new approach to waste tire recycling initiatives and opens a pathway for more inexpensive and high value-added waste tire-derived products.