Submitted to: Topics in Catalysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/12/2009
Publication Date: 7/1/2010
Citation: Knothe, G.H. 2010. Biodiesel: Current Trends and Properties. Topics in Catalysis. 53(11-12):714-720.
Interpretive Summary: Biodiesel is a biofuel that can be produced from vegetable oils, animal fats, used cooking oils and other sources. Although biodiesel is technically competitive with petroleum-derived diesel fuel, several issues affect its further development and commercialization. One issue is the current food vs. fuel discussion, i.e., if and how vegetable oils and other edible resources can serve as feedstock for fuels. Another issue is the search for more improved methods for biodiesel production. A third issue is fuel properties and their improvement by various methods, including changing the composition of the fuel. This article briefly summarizes these issues, providing a technical introduction to those interested in this area.
Technical Abstract: Biodiesel, an alternative to petroleum-derived diesel fuel, is defined as the mono-alkyl esters of vegetable oils and animal fats. Several current issues affecting biodiesel that are briefly discussed include the role of new feedstocks in meeting increased demand for biodiesel and circumventing the food vs. fuel issue, biodiesel production, as well as fuel properties and their improvement.