Forum Investigating Biodiesel From Fish Oil
Posted: 11 July 2012
SREF Contribute to EU Enerfish Biodiesel Study
Shetland Renewable Energy Forum has produced a publicly available study on the feasibility of using fish oil extracted from fish processing waste and by products, to make diesel on the Isles. (Available to read here).
Last year the Forum held a biofuel workshop to try and determine whether there was scope for more biofuel projects of all kinds around Shetland. This was picked up on by members of a European Commission funded project called Enerfish, who asked SREF if they would assess whether new technology and processes being trialled by a Vietnamese Aquaculture outfit might be suitable for use in Europe.
The Forum visited Shetland Catch, the Bressay Fish Factory, and Northern Isles Salmon to try to and get some expert opinion to feed into the report.
The short answer appears to be that whilst it is technically feasible to process fish oil into diesel, it’s unlikely to be economically viable in the near future – high quality fish oil from processing trimmings fetches a higher price as, for example, a food supplement than it would as a fuel, even at current pump prices.
However, the lessons learned from the study have lead to the prospect of a new opportunities to solve an old problem; how to treat salmon aquaculture ‘mortalities’. The forum and partners at the Gremista Waste Recycling Facility are now exploring the possibility of making diesel fuel from fish oil found in Salmon biomass which is to be removed from the food chain. Like all other forms of livestock farming, salmon farming produces animal casualties – those which die before being ready to harvest – ‘morts’. In some circumstances the only viable option open to the industry and the Council, given the Isles remote location, is to landfill the Salmon morts. It’s possible that an Enerfish Type Process may be able to be implemented which could make use of this waste resource .
Inspiration can be drawn from a similar project in the Aland Islands, a Swedish speaking territory of Finland, found in the Baltic Sea. Biodiesel is already produced from Salmon aquaculture processing waste, and this fuels the local bus in the Island’s capital of Mariehamn.
Shetland Renewable Energy Forum’s Development Officer, Robin Sampson, who researched and authored the report said: “The Enerfish Feasibility Study we produced suggests that around 100,000 litres of diesel could be produced by effective processing of the Salmon Morts which currently go to landfill in Shetland. This is not to be sniffed at and would improve the profile of the local industry, and generate a usable quantity of low cost, sustainably generated fuel. We’ve got some more learning to do before we’re ready to commit to anything; including some testing, but I’m hopeful that we can pioneer this process in Shetland. And then export our expertise gained to other parts of Salmon producing parts of the UK.”