Conceiving, exploring, and exploiting new ideas are the basis for technological creativity and innovation. By far, the most important step is the conception of a new idea having the potential to be transformed to a successful business solution. Nevertheless, the exploration of a new idea and its subsequent exploitation require both recourses and systematic planning in order to promote a sustainable entrepreneurship. An innovative idea of a new green technology for producing diesel from residual feedstocks was conceived and developed in the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas. The main concept of this technology is the innovative exploitation of waste cooking oil, which is abundant in Greece and other Mediterranean countries. The technology is based on catalytic hydrotreatment, a traditional petroleum process that is widely employed to upgrade petroleum products. The catalytic hydrotreatment of waste cooking oil was explored with the support of the European Program LIFE+, which funded both the research and development activities as well as the demonstration of the technology. A large quantity of waste cooking oil was collected and converted to the new diesel in a sufficient quantity to fuel a garbage truck for a few months, demonstrating the new technology. The new low-carbon technology offers a new diesel of increased sustainability, superior quality, better fuel consumption, and lower emissions. Furthermore, based on conservative estimations of the available waste cooking oil quantities in Greece and due to the high conversion yields of the proposed technology, it is estimated that waste cooking oil can satisfy approximately 9.5% of the national demand in diesel fuel. Due to all the aforementioned advantages, this technology was granted the second innovation award in the ‘Greece Innovates’ competition organized by Eurobank EFG and Hellenic Federation of Enterprises in July 2011. Towards the exploitation of this technology, the incorporation of waste cooking oil to an existing refining process is explored with the support of the European Commission and the Greek government via the project SustainDiesel. This joint project with the Hellenic Petroleum Group exhibits strong potential for getting scaled-up to industrial scale, thus promoting a green technology into the energy sector.
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