"Liquid and gas Fischer-Tropsch fuel production from olive industry waste: fuel from waste."
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Summary

Fossil fuels are the most common energy source nowadays. As a whole, they account for more than 85% of the primary energy consumption in the world. However, these fuels have major problems such as their restricted availability as a resource and also in terms of geography, the variation in their price depending on different non predictable reasons, and from the environmental point of view; the greenhouse gas emissions derived from the use of fossil fuels produce thousands of millions of tons of equivalent CO2 per year only in the USA.

Recently, an important effort has been made in the European Union in order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, a large change is still needed, and one of the main objectives of this project is fostering the use of biofuels as a solution to reduce emissions.

More specifically, the project is focused on the industry of olive, which accounts for an important part of the agricultural production in the European Union, a global leader in olive production with almost 70% of the total world output. Approximately 8-9% of the total agricultural land and 40% of the agricultural holdings of Spain, Italy and Portugal are used for olive farming, and the figures are as high as 20% and 60% in Greece. It has been proved that agricultural industry is responsible of about 10% of the total GHG emissions in the European Union.

The objective of the FFW project is to coproduce synthetic natural gas and diesel using the waste products of the olive industry as raw material. The produced diesel could be used as fuel for the tractors and trucks required for the gathering and transport of olives, within the facilities of the olive oil industry and for the subsequent transportation of the product, although it may be used for any other purpose, since it will fulfill the specifications of commercial diesel; and natural gas could be used for heating in the very fuel production installations and also olive oil production installations, so reducing the overall emissions of the process, and using the residues as a raw material for fuel production would eliminate the need for its treatment, doubly reducing the environmental impact.

Apart from the impact to GHG emissions, the use of waste for fuel production would help reduce the environmental impact of the olive industry, whose residues require careful treatment, since some of them like alperujo have a high pollutant potential. The revalorization of these residues as fuels could solve the pollution problem, obtaining at the same time economic profit from the solution.