Start Date: Jun 17, 2009
End Date: Apr 30, 2010
New technologies will be developed for the production of nutraceutical lipids and high-energy lipids or low/zero trans fats using directed enzymatic transesterification and fractionation techniques. Use enzyme immobilization techniques for developing continuous lipid modification processes in bioreactors. Biocatalytic and biomimetic reagents will be applied to produce carbon-carbon and carbon-oxygen branched fatty acids, targeting materials with enhanced lubricity while preserving biodegradability. Incorporate oxygen or phosphate functionalities into fats and oils or their constituent fatty acids to increase their hydrophilic character. Technologies will be optimized to improve the economics of biodiesel from low-cost, agriculturally derived lipid feedstocks using conventional alkali-catalyzed transesterification or alternative methods. Develop an enzymatic/alkali-catalyzed process for the conversion of free fatty acid (FFA) containing feedstocks into biodiesel fuels. Compositional analysis and engine performance studies will be conducted to gather a body of data required to determine: a) the suitability of whole vegetable oils as fuels; and b) the efficacy of additives on the performance of intact oils and biodiesel. Use heterogeneous catalysts to synthesize biodiesel. Produce fuel oxygenates and biodegradable lubricants. Identify origin of sulfur species and develop protocols for their removal from biofuels and/or feedstocks. Produce glycerol-based prepolymers; oligomerize glycerol with itself or other bifunctional monomers to produce hyper-branched polymers.