The fish scales are some of the waste that can be used to produce biofuel. (Photo: Stockfile)
Biodiesel produced from scales, fins and fish viscera
Thursday, January 17, 2013, 03:50 (GMT + 9)
A Vietnamese company engaged in the production of frozen fish fillets participates in an international project focused on the production of biodiesel as an alternative to take advantage of the waste generated in processing tasks.
The company, Hiep Thanh Seafood, discards about 80 tonnes of scales, guts and bones, which have great commercial value, since they could be used to produce energy, Deutsche Welle Español reported.
The project involves the extraction of fish oil and its chemical modification by adding methanol.
Not all fish are suitable for this procedure: the fundamental requirement is to have high fat content, requirement which pangasius (tra) meets, for example.
Vietnam is the third largest aquaculture producer in the world and is a leader in pangasius export.
Around 3,300 kilometres of its coastline and the Mekong Delta have good conditions for fish farming.
Enerfish project, partly funded by the European Union (EU), explores the ways in which fish waste can be converted into biodiesel, and how this energy can be wisely used.
According to Aulis Ranne, project coordinator of the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), the idea for this project came from a trip he made to Vietnam.
"A guide told us about the many fish producers and the lack of electricity in the region," he recalled.
The Vietnamese company executives expect to produce about 13 tonnes of biodiesel per day when the system is fully functioning.
They also intend to establish "a circular economy" as the biodiesel plant and production facilities are located nearby, factory waste can be processed to generate biofuel.
Likewise, the biodiesel plant can power its generators and thus cover its own energy demand.
"The company needs electricity for cooling and freezing processes," said Ranne.
The company also aims to save the equivalent of 14,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) annually.
According to Son Ha Dang, scientist from the Research Centre for Energy and Environment and Vietnamese partner of the project, the benefit of this initiative is energy security.
"The project will help the Government to gain experience with this technology," he said.
Ranne also anticipated that biodiesel will also be produced in Brazil, and Kenya has already expressed its interest in the technology.
By Analia Murias