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Green energy from wine production waste

Thursday, 21 March 2019 11:30

The transport sector contributes about 28% to the world’s primary energy consumption, and more than 90% of its consumption comes from petrol. For this reason, different International policies promote the transition of the use of petrol in transport by other sources of energy, such as electricity and biofuels.


Although biofuels cannot currently compete with fossil fuels in terms of price and availability, the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere are worrisome enough to investigate new raw materials for biofuels. However, the task is not easy, since we must try to avoid competition with food crops and, therefore, avoid using fertile land. Thus, the use of waste materials from the agro-food industry seems a good option.


Green energy from wine production waste


A study carried out by researchers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) has focused on waste from the wind industry, which is an interesting raw material for biodiesel in countries with an important wind production. Spain is the third largest producer of wine in the world, surpassing some 40 million hectoliters. After pressing the grapes to produce wines and musts, the waste is treated to obtained pomace, skins, rasps and grape seeds. The seeds contain about 7% oil which it can be extracted by pressing or with solvents (such as n-hexane).


This oil can be become into biofuel through the reaction with bioethanol obtained from the production of wine. This method to obtain completely renewable biofuel –generated from ethyl esters of fatty acids- has been devised by a scientific team formed by members of the research group of Environmental Studies of the UPM and the Group of Fuels and Engines of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (GCM-UCLM). As the researchers point out, “the objective of the study has not been to find the best or only source of biofuel, but to increase the diversity of options, key to sustainability”.


Renovables, E. (2019). Energía verde a partir de residuos de la producción de vino. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Mar. 2019].

David Bolonio, María-Jesús García-Martínez, Marcelo F. Ortega, Magín Lapuerta, Jose Rodríguez-Fernández, Laureano Canoira. (2019). "Fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs) obtained from grapeseed oil: A fully renewable biofuel". Renewable Energy 132: 278-283. DOI: 10.1016/j.rene


Test related to the energy production can be carried out in specialized climatic chamber to check their characteristics.

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