Fatty Acid Esters (biodiesel)
When we talk of biodiesel fuels today, we are generally talking about fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). Neat vegetable oils or animal fats as such are not suitable for high-speed diesel engines. Biodiesel esters are usually made in a transesterification process from vegetable oils, such as soy, rapeseed, sunflower, etc. Fossil methanol is typically used as an alcohol in the process, and sodium or potassium hydroxide as a catalyst. Ethanol could be used to produce fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE). The side-product of the process is glycerol. The process is quite simple and the product can be rather low in cost. The transesterification process is basically limited to oils and fats as feedstocks, and the product is always an ester. Due to certain end-use problems with FAME, the current maximum concentration is limited, e.g. up to 7.0% in the European EN590:2009 specification for diesel fuel. FAME biodiesel generally reduces CO, HC, and PM emissions, but increases NOx emissions.
- Chemical structure
- Legislation and standards
- Density and energy content
- Cold properties
- Cetane number
- Sulfur and trace elements
- Stability and water
- How much FAME can be blended in diesel fuel?
- Compatibility with cars and materials
- Storage and handling
- Engine cleanliness and emission control devices
- Power output, fuel consumption, and CO2
- Regulated emissions
- The NOx dilemma
- Unregulated emissions
- Health and air quality effect
- Cold temperature emissions
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