Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Bio-oils Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #249779

Title: Cold Flow Properties and Performance of Biodiesel

item Dunn, Robert - Bob
item Moser, Bryan

Submitted to: Annual Meeting and Expo of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/5/2010
Publication Date: 5/16/2010
Citation: Dunn, R.O., Moser, B.R. 2010. Cold Flow Properties and Performance of Biodiesel [abstract]. Annual Meeting and Expo of the American Oil Chemists' Society. p. 81-81.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Biodiesel is defined as a fatty acid alkyl ester mixture obtained by reacting vegetable oil or fat with a short chain (C1-C4) alcohol. The cold flow properties of biodiesel depend on the fatty acid composition of its feedstock as well as alcohol chain-length. Increasing biodiesel production in the U.S. depends on development of less expensive lipids such as used cooking oil, waste grease, tallow, inedible oil, and high-acid acid oil. Biodiesel from these feedstocks has less advantageous cold flow properties compared to esters from canola, rapeseed or soybean oil. Thus, increased utilization of biodiesel as an alternative fuel or extender for compression-ignition (diesel) engines depends on improving its cold flow properties. Earlier studies reported that decreasing cloud point (CP) is the most practical approach for improving the performance of biodiesel in cold weather. Those conclusions were based on data for biodiesel made from transesterification of soybean oil and methanol. The present work compares results from the earlier studies with data for biodiesel derived from different combinations of lipid and alcohol, both in neat (B100) form as well as in blends with petroleum middle distillate fuel (petrodiesel). Linear correlations were observed for pour point, cold filter plugging point and low-temperature flow test with respect to CP. Nearly linear correlations were observed for CP versus biodiesel blend ratio (B0-B50) for blends in ultra-low sulfur petrodiesel.