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Effects of Monoacylglycerols on the Cold Flow Properties of Biodiesel

Dunn, Robert O.
journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 2012 v.89 no.8 pp. 1509-1520
animal fats and oils, biodiesel, cold, cold storage, differential scanning calorimetry, ethanol, fatty acid composition, freezing, freezing point, methanol, monoacylglycerols, plant fats and oils, refractive index, saturated fatty acids, solubility, soybeans, specific gravity, temperature, transesterification, viscosity, weather
Biodiesel is a renewable alternative fuel made from plant oils and animal fats that may be burned in a compression–ignition (diesel) engine. It is composed of mono-alkyl fatty acid esters made from plant oils or animal fats mainly by transesterification with methanol or ethanol. This process leaves behind small concentrations of minor constituents including monoacylglycerols (MAG). Saturated MAG have low solubility in biodiesel and may form solid residues during storage in cold weather. Soybean oil-fatty acid methyl esters (SME) were mixed with up to 1.0 mass% MAG to evaluate the effects on cloud point (CP), freezing point (FP), cold filter plugging point (CFPP), and wax appearance point (WAP). Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) results showed that MAG with only 27.6 mass% total long chain (C16–C18) saturated fatty acid content had melting transitions between 54 and 59.0 °C. Furthermore, DSC analysis indicated that pure monoolein may be problematic with respect to melting transitions between 25.4 and 33.4 °C. Solubility data for SME–MAG mixtures indicated a broad transition temperature range from solid at low temperature to liquid at temperatures exceeding 60 °C. Increasing the added MAG content from 0.10 to 1.0 mass% increased both CP and FP. Cold filter plugging point demonstrated higher sensitivity than CP or FP at added MAG content below 0.10 mass%, though it was not affected by increasing MAG concentration above 0.50 mass%. Wax appearance point showed no effects until added MAG content exceeded 0.25 mass%. Kinematic viscosity measured at 5 °C similarly showed no effects until added MAG concentration exceeded 0.20 mass%. Specific gravity at 15.6 °C and refractive index at 25 °C were not greatly affected by added MAG except at concentrations greater than 0.10 mass%.