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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Vegetable Oil-based Diesel Fuels From 1900 to the Present

Author
item Knothe, Gerhard

Submitted to: Annual Meeting and Expo of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 3, 2009
Publication Date: May 3, 2009
Citation: Knothe, G.H. 2009. Vegetable Oil-based Diesel Fuels From 1900 to the Present [abstract]. Annual Meeting and Expo of the American Oil Chemists' Society, Orlando, FL.

Technical Abstract: The diesel engine, invented and developed by Rudolf Diesel in the 1890's, was displayed at the Paris World Exposition in 1900. At that occasion, one of the displayed diesel engines ran on peanut oil. This event marks the beginning of the use of vegetable oils and, later, derivatives thereof as diesel fuel. Research in this area was conducted in the 1920's through approximately the late 1940's. In 1937, the first biodiesel fuel, ethyl esters of palm oil, was described in a Belgian patent. Research and use of vegetable oil-based fuels were largely dormant in the age of petroleum through the mid- to late 1970's. Sparked by the petroleum crises of the 1970's and early 1980's, vegetable oils were rediscovered as fuels. Now alkyl esters of vegetable oils, known as biodiesel, are the most common form of vegetable oil-based diesel fuels. In recent times, issues such as fuel properties and quality, feedstock supply and diversity beyond the use of "classic" vegetable oils as fuel source, energy security, economics and environmental aspects have increasingly influenced the biodiesel market. A brief outline of these developments over time will be given.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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