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FPT Industrial to explore potential of macaúba as new biodiesel feedstock

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CNH Industrial brand FPT Industrial is planning to explore the potential of macaúba as a feedstock for biodiesel production, with a view to scaling up production from this new source.

Macaúba is a native palm tree to Brazil, the Caribbean and South Florida, which currently has multiple uses, including in construction, medical and cosmetic industries. More recently, its potential as a feedstock for biodiesel has been investigated.

Research carried out at the Technical Center in Betim, southeast Brazil, focused on its application as a fuel for agricultural tractors. Tests for trucks and buses, as well as power generators, are also planned.

The macaúba used in the tests was extracted by Cooper Riachão, a rural producers cooperative located in the region of Montes Claros in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Following extraction, biodiesel was produced in an experimental plant through transesterification, with the end product meeting standards set by Brazil’s National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP).

The project was carried out in collaboration with the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais (PUC Minas), the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and Bchem Biofuels, using a FPT Industrial N67 Tier 3 engine fitted to Case IH and New Holland Agriculture tractors.

During the test, blends of 10% and 20% macaúba biodiesel were use, with results showing performance and consumption comparable to fossil based diesel, however with reduced carbon monoxide and particulate matter emissions.