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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING THE PERFORMANCE OF ALTERNATIVE FUELS AND CO-PRODUCTS FROM VEGETABLE OILS Title: Evaluation of Alkyl Esters from Camelina Sativa Oil as Biodiesel and as Blend Components in Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel

Authors
item Moser, Bryan
item Vaughn, Steven

Submitted to: Bioresource Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 12, 2009
Publication Date: September 8, 2009
Citation: Moser, B.R., Vaughn, S.F. 2010. Evaluation of Alkyl Esters from Camelina Sativa Oil as Biodiesel and as Blend Components in Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel. Bioresource Technology. 101:646-653.

Interpretive Summary: This research discovered the majority of the fuel properties of camelina-based biodiesel were similar to soybean-derived biodiesel. This suggests that camelina would serve as a suitable feedstock for biodiesel production. The feedstocks for biodiesel production are normally commodity vegetable oils or animal fats that are regionally available, such as soybean oil. However, feedstock acquisition may account for up to 85% of the overall costs associated with biodiesel production. Consequently, the search for alternative low-cost feedstocks is of paramount importance for the economic viability of the biodiesel industry. Camelina, also known as false flax or gold-of-pleasure, is a spring annual broadleaf oilseed plant of the Brassicaceae family that grows well in temperate climates such as the northern United States. Camelina has several positive agronomic attributes and benefits in comparison to soybeans: low agricultural inputs (water, pesticides, fertilizer), cold-weather tolerance, short growing season (85 to 100 days), and grows well in semiarid regions and in low-fertility or saline soils. In the current study, oil was extracted from camelina seeds and converted to biodiesel. A number of important fuel properties of biodiesel prepared from camelina oil were determined and compared with biodiesel produced from soybean oil. It was discovered that the majority of the fuel properties of camelina-based biodiesel were similar to soybean-derived biodiesel, which suggested that camelina would serve as a suitable feedstock for biodiesel production.

Technical Abstract: Methyl and ethyl esters were prepared from camelina [Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz] oil by homogenous base-catalyzed transesterification for evaluation as a potential alternative source of biodiesel fuel. Camelina oil contained a high percentage of linolenic (32.6 wt %), linoleic (19.6 wt %), and oleic (18.6 wt %) acids. Consequently, camelina oil methyl and ethyl esters (CSME and CSEE) exhibited poor oxidative stabilities and high iodine values in comparison to methyl esters prepared from canola, palm, and soybean oils (CME, PME, and SME). Other fuel properties of CSME and CSEE were similar to CME, PME, and SME, such as low temperature operability, acid value, kinematic viscosity, lubricity, and surface tension. As blend components in ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, CSME and CSEE were essentially indistinguishable from SME and soybean oil ethyl esters (SEE) with regard to low temperature operability, kinematic viscosity, lubricity, and surface tension.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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