Submitted to: Oilseed Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 2, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Vegetable oils are used in various industrial applications such as emulsifiers, lubricants, plasticizers, surfactants, plastics, solvents, and resins. Vegetable oils have superb environmental credentials, such as being inherently biodegradable, having low ecotoxicity, and low toxicity towards humans, being derived from renewable resources and contributing no volatile organic chemicals (VOC). At the Oil Chemical Research Unit (ARS, USDA, NCAUR), our principle efforts focus on modifying the chemical and physical properties of vegetable oils (emphasizing soybean oil), to enhance their use as an additive or as a major component of value-added industrial products. One area is the preparation of 100% vegetable oil-based ink vehicles and formulations. They are cost competitive with petroleum-based inks and have better quality factors and environmental properties, such as biodegradability, lower VOC, and good deinkability. A second area is vegetable oils as renewable sources for alternative diesel fuels. The Oil Chemical Research Unit seeks to develop biodiesel with reduced exhaust emissions (especially NOx), improved cold-flow properties, improved oxidative stability, and more efficient product analysis techniques. Approaches focus on cetane improvers, enhanced understanding of (pre-)combustion chemistry, modified winterization techniques, cold-flow improvers, antioxidants, and development of spectroscopic methods. A third area is the chemical modification of vegetable oils to give properties necessary for biodegradable lubricant basestocks. Improvements in oxidative stability and low temperature performance are the key focus areas.