According to this article by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; The National Institute of Science and Technology has awardedÂ Thar Technologies Inc, a Harmarville PA company $1.9 million to develop a new single stage process to extract bio-diesel from feedstock.Â
Thar President and Chief Executive Officer Lalit Chorida said that to date, bio-diesel production has been a two-stage process — first, hexane is used to extract vegetable oil from oilseed, then the vegetable oil is converted to bio-diesel.
In Thar’s proposed single-stage process, carbon dioxide replaces hexane, a toxic solvent,
Â The new process reduces the energy required to produce the fuel by 25% while reducing the cost of production by 14%.Â With improvements such as this and with rising fossil fuel prices this will make subsidy-free biofuels even closer to reality.
In addition to biodiesel production, the processÂ can alsoÂ improve ethanol production, and can even be used for non-biofuels such as shale oils.