Animal by-products are a potential source of biomass for energy from waste or renewable energy generation. Previously, the high price of biofuel has been a direct result of the high price of feedstock, mostly the crops grown specifically for the productions of these fuels, known as energy crops. The large areas of land that would be required for crop production would restrict other land uses, such as human food or animal fodder. The use of animal by-products as a source of biomass would prevent these possible limitations and will have a positive impact on alternative energy production worldwide.
An ideal route for this, from both an environmental and economical perspective, is to produce biofuel which is produced from other feedstocks, such as tallow and waste tannery fat. Globally, 60 million ones of tallow/fats are generated which is either disposed of or sold as a low-grade raw material for industrial application. The conversion of this waste substrate into biofuel could contribute a small proportion to the current UK diesel consumption and has potential worldwide commercial applicability. This also contributes to the UK and EU disposal problem of animal by-products and the fatty products of surfactant-based aqueous degreasing of hides and skins and provide, through utilisation of an existing resource, and alternative to the associated costs of ‘energy crop’ population.
“Globally, 60 million ones of tallow/fats are generated which is either disposed of or sold as a low-grade raw material for industrial application”
Feasibility of biodiesel synthesis from waste animal fat, tallow, from the leather industry has been the subject of investigation. Currently, biodiesel is widely used in blends with diesel without compromise on fuel performance. As a sustainable resource and potential replacement of finite fuels such as diesel, certain areas of biofuel and its usage still require further research.