Analyzing Fish Oils as an Alternative Fuel | DDS Calorimeters


Natural oils like olive oil, lard oil and fish oil can be analyzed using the DDS Oxygen Bomb Calorimeter range. The heat of combustion of the organic substance can be calculated with a small sample inserted into one of our DDS Calorimeters.


Fish oil is a natural product obtained by rendering fish, and is sold as a dietary supplement, sometimes by prescription for cholesterol control. However, the potential supply of fish oil is currently greater than the market for human consumption, so it can also be used as a fuel, especially in communities with fish processing plants. Worth noting is the relative values of fish oil in its various forms - as a prescription drug, it sells for several thousand dollars a gallon, as a non-prescription dietary supplement it sells for several hundred dollars per gallon, and as a substitute for diesel fuel it is valued at several dollars per gallon.

The oil is rendered from fish waste using a multi-step process of heating, pressing, centrifugal separation, and filtering. Fish oil can be used either directly as a boiler fuel or converted into a biodiesel and used for diesel engine fuel and/or heating fuel. Raw fish oil is also being used by a number of fish processors around the world for onsite heating and power generation.

Fish oil is produced in large quantities by the fish processing industry. This by-product has a similar calorific value to petroleum distillates and is a renewable energy source. Active studies have been carried out for using fish oil as fuel for diesel engines. However, there are circumstances where using fish oil as fuel for furnaces/boilers for heat/power generation is of greater interest.

Waste fish oil is used as a raw material for biodiesel production. The higher consumption of diesel oil has caused the scarcity of petroleum and increasing costs. The manufacturing of biodiesel as a partial replacement makes used of fish oil as an alternative source of energy.

Vegetable oils have been found to be promising fuels because their properties are similar to that of diesel and are produced easily and renewable from crops. Compared to diesel fuel, vegetable oils are comparable for its energy, cetane number, heat of vaporization and air-fuel ratio. However, vegetable oils have much higher viscosity than that of diesel oil.

The benefits of biodiesel : it is renewable, biodegradable, non-toxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics, reduces carbon monoxide emissions, hydrocarbons and particle matter. The price of edible vegetable oils are higher than that of diesel fuel; therefore, waste vegetable oils and non-edible crude vegetable oils receive more attention over the edible vegetable oils for biodiesel production. There are some very low quality vegetable oils as biodiesel feed stocks, such as trap grease, used cooking oils, animal oils that contain significant amounts of fatty acids. Animal fats contain from 5%-30% free fatty acids. A pre-treatment is required to reduce the fatty acid levels, then the pre-treated oil can be converted to biodiesel.

Fish oils like salmon oil, the by-product of salmon processing, and neat sardine oil are mixed with other substances to create biodiesel and compared to diesel, finding a decrease in the carbon emissions from the fish oils.

Analyzing Fish Oils as an Alternative Fuel | DDS Calorimeters


Fish waste in the form of fish heads, gills, hearts and stomach of fish are collected as by-products in fish processing. The process is started by washing the fish by-product and adding the waste to water as a solvent, then boiling the combination. The result of boiling fish waste is the oil layer that is formed on the upper stew of the fish waste. The oil is then taken and put into a separation funnel to separate it from the solvent. The oil can now be used as a raw material for biodiesel production or stored in sealed glass bottles.

Producing the Biodiesel - The free fatty acids are then reduced by an estrification process. The estrification process yields the liquid product with two distinct layers. The oil is washed with water then separated in a separating funnel and the remaining water is removed by heating. The oils is then dissolved in methanol and NaOH. The process is then stopped where the liquid products have two layers, the top layer containing the methyl ester/biodiesel and the bottom layer containing glycerol. The biodiesel is removed and washed with distilled water. This washing process is carried out a few times. Then the biodiesel is dried in an oven to remove the water content.

Analysis of the biodiesel - Biodiesel of waste fish oil is determined for its kinematic viscosity, flash point, density, cloud point, and carbon residue using ASTM methods and the calorific value is determined using an oxygen bomb calorimeter system.

Analyzing Fish Oils as an Alternative Fuel | DDS Calorimeters


Combustion tests for fish oil and its blends as an alternative fuel for conventional boilers and furnaces are performed using oxygen bomb calorimeters. Fish oil and the blends burn readily. The emissions are generally lower than burning pure fuel oil. Overall fish oil shows good combustion properties and significant economic and environmental benefits. It is necessary to analyze the calorific value of the fish oil and its blends in biodiesel to determine the calorific value of the biodiesel, which is then compared to diesel to determine how much fuel consumption is encountered during the burning process. A little increase in fuel consumption is often encountered due to the lower calorific value during the burning process. Most of the major exhaust pollutants are reduced with the use of biodiesel when compared to diesel.

In terms of fuel properties and exhaust emission characteristics, fish oil biodiesel can be regarded as an alternative to diesel fuel. The oxygen bomb calorimeter plays a small but significant part in calculating the heat released during the combustion process of the fish oil biodiesel, but plays a large role in reducing carbon emissions and assisting in creating environmentally friendly products, and reducing your carbon footprint.

References : Waste Fish Oil Biodiesel as a Source of Renewable Fuel - Researchgate, Alaska Energy Wiki - Fish Oil, Fish Oil as an Alternative Fuel for Conventional Combustors (The Arctic Energy Summit)


To use for analyzing waste products as alternative fuel

CAL3K-F Oxygen Bomb Calorimeter System | DDS Calorimeters


A flexible system for low to high throughput without compromising on accuracy and repeatability. It is used in Food/Feed Analysis, Alternative Energy, Scientific Determinations, Coal and Oil Production, research and Quality Assurance. In short : where the calorific value of a solid/liquid sample must be determined.

View Product
CAL3K-U Oxygen Bomb Calorimeter System | DDS Calorimeters


The CAL3K-U is the University Edition in the CAL3K range, mainly suited for universities and educational institutions. It is best suited for a production environment which requires robust, fast, and accurate results. The CAL3K-U Calorimeter can be used in the following educational areas : Thermodynamics Teaching, Combustion Energy of non-gaseous substances, Safety, Research and Quality Control.

View Product
CAL3K-A Oxygen Bomb Calorimeter System | DDS Calorimeters


The CAL3K-A is best suited for a production environment with shared oxygen supply (to other users) and robust handling. One external oxygen filling station can service multiple CAL3K Calorimeter Systems. The DDS Calorimeters range can be used to determine the calorific value of solid and liquid combustibles including oil, coke, volatile fuels, biomass, plastic, coal, animal feeds and food stuffs.

View Product

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *