Small-scale plants that produce biodiesel have many social, economic and environmental advantages. Indeed, small plants significantly contribute to renewable energy production and rural development. Communities can use/reuse local raw materials and manage independently processes to obtain biofuels by essential, simple, flexible and cheap tools for self-supply. The review and understanding of recent plants of small biodiesel production is essential to identify limitations and critical units for improvement of the current process. Biodiesel production consists of four main stages, that are pre-treatment of oils, reaction, separation of products and biodiesel purification. Among lots of possibilities, waste cooking oils were chosen as cheap and green sources to produce biodiesel by base-catalyzed transesterification in a batch reactor. In this paper an overview on small-scale production plants is presented with the aim to put in evidence process, materials, control systems, energy consumption and economic parameters useful for the project and design of such scale of plants. Final considerations related to the use of biodiesel such as renewable energy storage (RES) in small communities are discussed too.
De Paola Maria Gabriela
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