Biodiesel consists of mono alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from a renewable lipid feedstock, for use in compression ignition (diesel) engines. Biodiesel offers advantages over petroleum derived diesel including low toxicity, lubricity, optimal flash point, low sulfur content, lower exhaust content, and biodegradability. While there are several advantages to using biodiesel, some potential technical hindrances are associated with the fuel properties, including its functionality in cold weather climates.
Optimizing the cold flow properties of biodiesel fuels is pertinent to the applicability of these fuels as alternatives to conventional petrodiesel products. This study examines the cloud point, melting point, and enthalpy change relationships between binary blends of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) and includes additional research with cold flow enhancer, triacetin. Incorporation of triacetin, the potential co-product of the interesterification reaction for synthesizing biodiesel, as a fuel additive and cloud point depressant was investigated in pure component and binary FAME fuel blends. Thermodynamic analysis and predictive modeling of blend properties was carried out in order to understand the effect of the methyl ester and triacetin concentration in each blend. Cloud point provided the basis for the modeling, as it is the only cold flow property that can be modeled in this way.
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