Finnish researchers to turn fish waste into biodiesel

By Anna Austin | November 13, 2008
Web exclusive posted Dec. 1, 2008 at 5:20 p.m. CST

VTT Technical Research Center of Finland has launched Enerfish, a three-year project focused on producing biodiesel from waste generated at a fish processing plant.

VTT is the largest contract research organization in northern Europe, providing technology solutions and innovation services to many countries.

VTT plans to build a pilot-scale biodiesel facility next to fish processing plant Hiep Thanh Seafood JSC in Vietnam, to ensure viability and rapid commercialization of the technology. Hiep Thanh Seafood produces 120,000 kilograms (120 tons) of fish processing waste daily, which the company currently sells to the feed industry.

Aulis Ranne, VTT senior research scientist, said the pilot plant will produce 13 tons of biodiesel per day. "This brings the amount of fish cleaning waste needed to produce this amount to about 72 tons," she said. "20 kilograms (approximately 44 pounds) of fish cleaning waste is needed to produce one gallon of biodiesel."

The project team is also developing an energy-saving cooling system based on the use of carbon dioxide and a freezer system suitable for fish processing operations.

Using waste from the fish processing industry as a renewable energy source can be turned into a highly profitable business operation, Ranne said. "The project partners aim to generate significant business during the project lifetime," she added.

The European Union will provide 60 percent of the 5 million project ($6.5 million) cost; the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland will contribute approximately 10 percent.

The project is expected to be completed in 2011.
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