VEGETABLE OIL-BASED FUELS, ADDITIVES AND COPRODUCTS
Location: Bio-oils Research Unit
Title: Biodiesel production, properties and feedstocks
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2011
Publication Date: March 28, 2011
Citation: Moser, B.R. 2011. Biodiesel production, properties and feedstocks. In: Tomes D., Lakshmanan P., Songstad D., editors. Biofuels. Global Impact on Renewable Energy, Production, Agriculture, and Technological Advancements. Chapter 15. Springer: New York, NY. p. 285-348.
Biodiesel, defined as the mono-alkyl esters of vegetable oils or animal fats, is an environmentally attractive alternative to conventional petroleum diesel fuel (petrodiesel). Produced by transesterification with a monohydric alcohol, usually methanol, biodiesel has many important technical advantages over petrodiesel, such as inherent lubricity, low toxicity, derivation from a renewable and domestic feedstock, superior flash point and biodegradability, negligible sulfur content, and lower exhaust emissions. Important disadvantages of biodiesel include high feedstock cost, higher NOx exhaust emissions, inferior storage and oxidative stability, lower volumetric energy content, and inferior low temperature operability. This review covers the process by which biodiesel is prepared, the types of catalysts that may be used for the production of biodiesel, the influence of free fatty acids on biodiesel production, the use of different monohydric alcohols in the preparation of biodiesel, the influence of biodiesel composition on fuel properties, the influence of blending biodiesel with other fuels on fuel properties, alternative uses for biodiesel, and value-added uses of glycerol, a co-product of biodiesel production. A particular emphasis is placed on alternative feedstocks for biodiesel production. Lastly, future challenges and outlook for biodiesel are discussed.