04/2014, Finished R&D Projects

Development of a multifunctional system to valorize used vegetable fats and oils

  • funding program: ZIM-KF (BMWi)
  • term: 01/04/2014 – 31/03/2016
  • project partners: MABA Spezialmaschinen GmbH

Initial Position

The processing of low quality oils and fats which have deteriorated is increasingly required since raw material, their availability and socio-political reasons are forcing to it. Today the existing plants for the production of biodiesel are mostly designed for the use of pure vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil. Only a few biodiesel producers are able to process used vegetable oils of low quality. Attention should be paid to the limits of quality indicators. If these limits are exceeded, the oils cannot be processed in existing system.


In the cooperation project plant design concepts are to be developed that can process vegetable and animal fats of different quality and origin. In particular, the quality indicators

  • free fatty acids
  • phosphorus
  • sulfur
  • iron
  • soap
  • polyethylene
  • impurities
  • water content

should be reduced to a limit value so that the treated used-oil can be used as a feedstock for biodiesel production.


Within extensive tests, the test conditions under which the limit values ​​were most clearly exceeded were tested. It could be seen that the use of bleaching earth, in contrast to Filtracel and Trisyl, was more successful to remove these substances with adsorbents.

A combined process of basic module units for the overall removal or reduction of undesired substances could be developed successfully. All these steps are also easy to implement on large scale.

An exception is the reduction of the sulfur content, for which a sufficient result has not yet been found. However, sulfur-containing oils, as our search showed, have become a rarity.

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