Study on the minor components in biodiesel
During the production of biodiesel, several reactants and by products in trace amounts may contaminates the final product. The contaminants and other additives in the final product constitute the minor components in biodiesel, which are very important factors affecting the biodiesel properties and quality. The biodiesel standards are being developed in many countries to give specifications of various contaminants, such as the United States, Europe, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, etc. Determination methods and the minor component effects on biodiesel properties are still under investigation.
The main goals of this project are to investigate the quantification and reduction techniques of the minor components, and to understand the thermodynamic mechanism of the minor component effects. Four specific objectives are considered here:
l Determination of minor components in biodiesel
l Biodiesel property variations caused by minor components
l Investigations of processes to reduce particulates
l Thermodynamic and kinetic mechanism of the solid precipitates in biodiesel
Analysis of antioxidants and sterol glycosides with FT-IR, GC-MS/FID and HPLC in biodiesel are studied. Theoretical background of the minor component phenomenon is clarified in this project.
(FT-IR) and Mass Spectrometry (MS) will be used to identify the species of minor components. Mass Spectrometry is coupled to Gas Chromatography (GC) or High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) as a detector. Quantitative analysis Gas Chromatography (GC) GC coupled with either mass spectrometric (MS) or flame ionization detection (FID) is the most applicable method to determine the minor component listed above.
Minor component effects on the biodiesel properties such as cloud point (CP) at which crystallization begins, cold filter plugging point (CFPP) at which fuel starts to plug a fuel filter, pour point (PP), will be studied. Thermodynamic models will be set up based on the obtained experimental data. Thermogravimetric analysis of biodiesel particulate matter will be carried out with TGA technique.
The determination of the minor components is a crucial step to assess the quality of biodiesel. This work will determine the specific contents of the minor components in different biodiesel, which helps monitoring the efficiency of transesterification reaction and the study of minor content impact on the fuel properties. The other objective of this project is to investigate the thermodynamic principles lying behind the precipitation phenomenon in biodiesel caused by the minor components, which is very important for developing techniques to reduce the minor components in biodiesel.