Superhydrophobic Catalyst

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A team of scientists from Assam, Odisha, China, and the United Kingdom have developed a water-repellent catalyst that can cut the cost of producing “environmentally benign” biodiesel substantially from the current levels.

About Superhydrophobic Catalyst:

  • The new catalyst is named as “spherical superhydrophobic activated carbon catalyst” which is developed to withstand water by-product during the production of biodiesel.
  • This catalyst imitates the anti-wetting or water-repulsing properties of natural surfaces such as lotus leaves.
  • Advantages
    • The catalyst is derived from biomass (cellulose), is ecologically benign, abundant, and highly affordable.
    • This breakthrough has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of biodiesel production, making sustainable energy more accessible.
    • It is highly effective and can be reused multiple times, making the catalytic process more efficient and cost-effective.
    • At present, the cost of biodiesel in India is about ₹100 or UD$1.2 per litre. Using the superhydrophobic activated carbon catalyst can bring down the cost to about 37 cents per litre. 
  • Biodiesel: Itis a renewable, biodegradable fuel manufactured domestically from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease. 

What is activated carbon?

  • It is a class of amorphous carbonaceous material with large porosity and internal surface area.
  • Coconut shells, coal, and wood are the basic sources of activated carbon.

Q1: What is Biomass?

It is renewable organic material that comes from plants and animals. Biomass contains stored chemical energy from the sun that is produced by plants through photosynthesis.