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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Recent Advances in the Development of Alternative Diesel Fuel from Vegetable Oils and Animal Fats

item Dunn, Robert
item Knothe, Gerhard
item Bagby, Marvin - RETIRED, USDA/ARS, PEORIA

Submitted to: Recent Research Developments in Oil Chemistry
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: December 26, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Interest in utilizing veg oils and animal fats (triglycerides) as alternative fuels for compression ignition (diesel) engines has increased in the past 10-15 years. Triglycerides have many fuel properties including heat of combustion, cetane number, high flash temp and good lubricity that make them attractive as fuels or extenders. Triglycerides are renewable, biodegradable and cleaner burning than conventional diesel fuels. Engine tests have shown that extended use of triglycerides as diesel fuels leads to problems such as injector coking, ring carbonization and crankcase lubricant contamination. These problems were attributable to incomplete combustion and poor fuel atomization, conditions directly related to the relatively high viscosity of triglycerides. Dilution with conventional diesel fuel, transesterification with alcohol, emulsification or cosolvent blending and pyrolyzation have been examined as methods for reducing viscosity. Transesterification has made the most progress towards commercialization. Mono alkyl esters of fatty acids from transesterified veg oils or animal fats are defined as biodiesel in the United States of America. This work reviews development of alternative diesel fuels and extenders from triglycerides. Recent advances in improving low temp flow properties, fuel ignition quality and exhaust emissions are discussed.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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