Liquid Plasma Discharge for Biodiesel Synthesis

Technology No. 20160139

Transesterification Induced from Liquid Plasma

An AC-powered liquid-plasma process offers sustainable biodiesel production from a feedstock mixture of oils/fats and alcohol. This continuous process uses recycled waste cooking oils and/or animal fats and is fast, cost effective and does not require catalysts or high temperatures. The high voltage energy associated with electric discharge in the feedstock mixture breaks down chemical bonds of oil and alcohol so that the generated liquid plasma can induce the transesterification process needed for biodiesel synthesis. This technology boasts an extremely rapid reaction time (under one second) and a high conversion rate.

Sustainable Biodiesel Synthesis

Biodiesel is a preferred substitute for petroleum diesel, and while large scale industrial biodiesel production is highly promoted in the U.S., current methods suffer from low production efficiency, high energy consumption and high costs. The proposed technology offers several advantages over these techniques, such as enhanced feedstock selectivity, small AC power supply (vs. a large, high-cost pulse power supply), a <1 second reaction time (vs. hours), no preheating or high temperatures, no catalysts and little/reduced purification.


  • Lower costs expected as compared to traditional methods
  • Continuous process
  • No catalyst required
  • No high temperatures or preheating needed
  • High conversion rate, fewer byproducts; less purification required
  • Rapid reaction time (
  • Enhanced feedstock selectivity
  • Smaller, lower cost AC power supply


  • Biodiesel
  • Chemical synthesis
  • Polymer synthesis
  • Water and wastewater treatment
  • Material decomposition
  • Disinfection and sterilization

Phase of Development Proof of concept. Demonstrated on laboratory scale.

Shaobo Deng
Research Fellow, College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences
External Link (
Xiao Wu
Researcher, College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences
External Link (

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