ENERFISH Experiments with Biodiesel from Fish Processing Waste
In October, Finland’s VTT Technical Research Center, the largest applied research organization in Northern Europe, launched ENERFISH, a research project to derive biodiesel from the waste of fish processing plants in Vietnam. The project is scheduled to run through 2011.
ENERFISH operates on a total budget of $6.5 million, with 60 percent funded by the European Union and 10 percent from Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The remaining funds come from participating partners, which include Finland’s Preseco Oy and Vahterus Oy, Technofi of France, TÜV Rheinland of Germany, Ho Chi Minh City’s Energy Conservation Center, Vietnam’s AFI Industry Joint-Stock Co., Hiep Thanh Seafood and RCEE Energy and Environment Joint-Stock Co., a government liaison and National Energy Foundation of the UK.
ENERFISH assembled a biodiesel manufacturing plant near Hiep Thanh’s processing facility in Can Tho. Hiep Thanh Seafood produces 265,000 pounds of fish waste everyday, most of which was previously sold to feed producers.
ENERFISH also introduced an innovative cooling system using closed circuit CO2, which is 10 to 15 percent more efficient than conventional freezers, according to Dr. Hidde Ronde, a senior research scientist leading ENERFISH.
Aulis Ranne, a VTT scientist also involved in the project, indicated that with global demand of renewable energy sources, processing fish waste would be a lucrative business.
In Vietnam, Minh Tu Seafood and Agifish have produced biodiesel from catfish fat since 2006, but neither provided a steady supply. Agifish, Vietnam’s second largest catfish exporter, reports it produced over a quart of biodiesel from 2.2 pounds of fish fat.
The Mekong Delta fish processing industry consumes 1.3 million gallons of diesel oil every day.
Apart from Vietnam, similar fish-processing biodiesel projects are also underway in Scandinavia. However, as Dr. Ronde pointed out, Vietnam’s project is focusing on waste from farmed fish. He explained that aquaculture produces very fat fish, which is ideal for fuel production.