Production of alternative biofuel from black soldier fly lipid oil

By Hochschule Bremerhaven

There is a growing demand for sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels for shipping and aviation purposes[1]. Our research within the FLEXI-GREEN FUELS project partially centers around the utilization of lipid oil sourced from black soldier fly larvae (BSFL), fed with sugars derived from municipal solid waste, for producing an alternative bio-fuel. The BSFL is a promising second-generation feedstock (non-edible feedstock) for bio-oil production. However, a general problem with oils from biomass is that it contains high levels of oxygen, which makes it unsuitable as an engine fuel. Upgrading the lipid oils through hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) has a potential to be a viable path for the generation of fuels [2].

However, there remains a lack of research on BSFL lipid oil upgrading. To address this, Hulteberg Chemistry & Engineering has conducted hydrotreatment experiments by hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) and isomerization of such BSFL lipid oil and evaluated the products for its potential as an aviation or shipping fuel. The HDO experiments were performed in a batch autoclave reactor and isomerization in a continuous flow reactor system. PIONA analysis by GC-VUV and elemental analysis by ICP-OES was done for oil characterization. Alongside our partners in the Flexi-Green Fuels project, we assessed key data such as heating value, flash point, and freezing point to evaluate the performance of the hydrotreatment processes.

Obtained results show high degree of deoxygenation and that subsequential isomerization reduces the amount of unwanted compound classes (e.g. olefins, napthenes and aromatics). Overall, the product is enhanced by the performed hydrotreatment processes.

Vial containing untreated lipid oil to the left and hydrodeoxygenated lipid oil to the right.


1. Mortensen, P.M.; Grunwaldt, J.D.; Jensen, P.A.; Knudsen, K.G.; Jensen, A.D. A Review of Catalytic Upgrading of Bio-Oil to Engine Fuels. Appl. Catal. Gen. 2011, 407, 1–19, doi:10.1016/j.apcata.2011.08.046.

2. Kim, T.S.; Oh, S.; Kim, J.Y.; Choi, I.G.; Choi, J.W. Study on the Hydrodeoxygenative Upgrading of Crude Bio-Oil Produced from Woody Biomass by Fast Pyrolysis. Energy 2014, 68, 437–443, doi:10.1016/


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 101007130.