Browse Publications Technical Papers 2009-01-1788
2009-06-15

Determination of Physicochemical Properties of Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters (FAEE) - Diesel Fuel Blends 2009-01-1788

In this study, the transesterification process of 4 different vegetable oils (sunflower, rapeseed, olive oil and used frying oil) took place utilizing ethanol, in order to characterize the ethyl esters and their blends with diesel fuel obtained as fuels for internal combustion engines. All ethyl esters were synthesized using calcium ethoxide as a heterogeneous solid base catalyst. The ester preparation involved a two-step transesterification reaction, followed by purification. The effects of the mass ratio of catalyst to oil, the molar ratio of ethanol to oil, and the reaction temperature were studied on conversion of sunflower oil to optimize the reaction conditions in both stages. The rest of the vegetable oils were converted to ethyl esters under optimum reaction parameters. The optimal conditions for first stage transesterification were an ethanol/oil molar ratio of 12:1, catalyst amount (3.5%), and 80 °C temperature, whereas the maximum yield of ethyl esters reached 80.5%. In the second stage, the yield of ethyl esters showed signs of improvement of 16% in relation with the one-stage transesterification, which was obtained under the following optimal conditions: Catalyst concentration 0.75% and ethanol/oil molar ratio 6:1.
Ethyl esters of 4 different types of vegetable oils were blended with diesel fuel at 2%, 5%, 10% and 20%, on a volume basis. The fuel properties of the blends were measured according to ISO and EN test methods. The experimental results showed that the densities and viscosities of the blends increased with the increase of biodiesel concentration in the fuel blend. Cold flow properties were negatively affected as ethyl ester content was increasing. Distillation characteristics and cetane indices were not significantly altered. These results are promising, and ethyl esters can be seen as a viable fully renewable alternative to petroleum diesel.

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