Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 12, 2004
Publication Date: January 1, 2005
Citation: Dunn, R.O. 2005. Cold weather properties and performance of biodiesel. In: Knothe, G., Van Gerpen, J., editors. The Biodiesel Handbook. 1st edition. Urbana, IL: AOCS Press. p. 83-121. Technical Abstract: Biodiesel is an alternative fuel made from vegetable oil or animal fat that can be employed in compression-ignition (diesel) engines. Although biodiesel has many attractive characteristics as an alternative diesel fuel, it is more prone to start-up and operability issues during cold weather than conventional diesel fuels (petro-diesel). This work reviews progress made in development of biodiesel with improved cold flow properties for applications as a neat fuel as well as in blends with petro-diesel. Pertinent fuel properties and methods for their measurement are defined along with discussion of their relevance for assessing cold weather performance in the field. Five approaches for improving performance are examined as follows: 1) blending with petro-diesel; 2) commercial petro-diesel additives; 3) design of new additives specifically for biodiesel 4) transesterification with medium or branched-chain alcohols (instead of methanol or ethanol); and 5) crystallization fractionation. Finally, an outlook for future studies on improving the cold flow properties of biodiesel including perspectives on new approaches is presented.