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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #172795


item Holser, Ronald
item Doll, Kenneth - Ken
item Erhan, Sevim

Submitted to: Fuel
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/29/2005
Publication Date: 1/25/2006
Citation: Holser, R.A., Doll, K.M., Erhan, S.Z. 2006. Metathesis of vegetable oil esters for improved fuel properties. Fuel. 85(3):393-395.

Interpretive Summary: Methyl soyate or biodiesel produced from soybeans is a renewable fuel for diesel engines that is similar to petroleum diesel fuel but could be improved to provide better fuel properties. For example, the performance of methyl soyate in cold weather depends on the ratio of saturated and unsaturated fats in the original soybean oil. The chemical structures of the unsaturated esters in methyl soyate were modified to improve the performance of the biodiesel fuel. A new catalyst was used that rapidly converted almost half of the unsaturated esters. This approach is a possible alternative to the use of additives to improve biodiesel fuel properties and reduce the production and consumption of petroleum diesel fuels. These results are of interest to soybean farmers, processors, biodiesel fuel producers, and distributors.

Technical Abstract: Three Ruthenium catalysts were investigated for the metathesis reaction of methyl soyate. Grubbs second generation catalyst, Ruthenium, [1,3-bis-(2,4,6-trimethylphenyl)-2-imidazolidinylidene] dichloro (phenylmethylene) tricyclohexylphosphine, was the only catalyst tested that exhibited activity at 40°C. Reaction of 46% of the unsaturated methyl esters in a commercial methyl soyate was obtained after two hours. This suggests a method to modify the structure of methyl soyate to improve diesel fuel performance properties.