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Turning Beef Fat into Biofuel

To recover the waste of meat that is produced daily in the industry is the motto of the R&D project "FatValue”, whose promoters are the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP), the University of Minho and the company “Irmãos Monteiro”. Turning the beef fat into biofuel is one way to tackle an environmental problem, financial and even a public health issue.

Did you know that several thousand euros are needed to manage waste for poultry, cattle, pigs and goats? A group of researchers from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) has been developing solutions that aim not only to reduce costs in the production of meat, but also how to turn animal waste into valuable products, including animal fat into biodiesel. This is a way of reducing the expense of industries in the processing of their waste, but also of protecting the environment and public health of populations.

Proposed by the company "Irmãos Monteiro”, this project has a partnership with the University of Minho and a slaughterhouse in the Portuguese region of Beira Litoral. According to Manuel Fonseca Almeida, professor in the Faculty and head researcher of the "FatValue", "the are currently being tested three forms of waste recovery by the team of researchers from FEUP and the University of Minho. By March 2011, the partners will have the opportunity to test useful applications for their waste”.

One application that merits the attention of researchers is the use of animal bones for the production of biomaterials for bone regeneration in humans. "Not all bones can be used to produce bio, but you can use this process some of them, for example cattle bones as the tibia," explains Manuel Fonseca Almeida.

The research team from the University of Minho involved in the project "FatValue" is dealing mainly animal waste other than bone or fat. "The constituents of protein products (eg, leftover meat, greaves and rind), by anaerobic digestion can produce biogas. This transformation, the waste end result can be used as organic fertilizers, "the researcher FEUP.

Sponsored by the Innovation Agency, as part of the "SI IDT - Incentive System for R & D," the FatValue was launched in 2009 and will be finished until March 2011.

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