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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Analysis of Biodiesel Fuel and Monitoring Progress of the Transesterifica Tion Reaction by Fiber-Optic Near Infrared Spectroscopy

item Knothe, Gerhard

Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 22, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Biodiesel, an alternative diesel fuel derived from vegetable oil and animal fats, is obtained by reacting the oil or fat with an alcohol (transesterification) to give the corresponding mono-alkyl esters. Gas chromatography (GC) is currently the preferred analytical method for biodiesel and is applied in biodiesel standards. Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy using a fiber-optic probe is an alternative to the GC method. NIR spectra of vegetable oils and their methyl esters show differences in some spectral regions which can be used for quantitation. The NIR method is significantly faster and easier to use than GC and requires only minimal maintenance. The progress of the transesterification reaction can be monitored with excellent results and inductive statements on the quality of a biodiesel fuel are possible.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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