University of Kentucky CAER Home

CAER Seminars

Title: "Biodiesel: A Viable Alternative for Petro-Diesel Fuel "

Dr. Ajay Dalai
Visiting Scientist
Catalysis and Chemical Reaction Engineering Laboratories
Department of Chemical Engineering
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK, Canada
CAER, University of Kentucky

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004 3:30 pm
Ben Bandy Conference Room
UK Center for Applied Energy Research

Fossil fuel use in transportation contributes over 25% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Biomass derived fuels such as biodiesel would play a major role as transportation fuel in North America and other parts of the world. Also, replacing/complementing regular diesel with biodiesel would reduce green house gas emissions. Utilization of waste biomass resources for biodiesel would provide additional GHG reductions. Also, biodiesel is being used as a diesel fuel additive to improve the longevity of diesel engines. This research is underway in many developed and developing countries. In our group at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, biodiesel production and by-product utilization are being carried out. Trans-esterification of several vegetable oils was carried out using methanol, and KOH as a catalyst. The methyl esters were purified and characterized by various methods for their fuel properties. The fatty acid composition suggests that 80-85% of the ester is from unsaturated acids. Substantial decrease in density and viscosity of the methyl esters compared to their corresponding oils suggested that the oils were in their mono or diglyceride form. The lubricity of the methyl esters, when blended at 1 vol% treat rate with ISOPARĀ® M reference fuel, showed that the canola methyl ester enhanced the fuels lubricity number. It was determined that the ester with the most potential for being an additive or a substitute for diesel fuel is the canola methyl ester, whose physical and chemical characteristics are similar to that of diesel fuel.