Factors Affecting the Cold Flow Behaviour of Biodiesel and Methods for Improvement – A Review

Abstract

Biodiesel is an attractive renewable energy source, which is suitable as a substitute to the non-renewable petroleum diesel. However, it is plagued by its relatively bad cold flow behaviour. In this review, the factors affecting the cold flow of biodiesel, vis-à-vis the contradicting requirement of good cold flow and good ignition properties, are discussed. Fuel filter plugging, and crystallization of biodiesel are considered, together with the cold flow properties such as Pour Point (PP), Cloud Point (CP), Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFPP) and Low Temperature Filterability Test (LTFT). In addition, various methods used to improve the cold flow of biodiesel are also presented, with a special emphasis laid on the effects of these methods in reducing the Cloud Point. Strategies to improve cold flow, and yet maintaining the good ignition quality of biodiesel, are also proposed. As far as the cold flow of biodiesel is concerned, desirable attributes of its esters are short, unsaturated and branched carbon chains. However, these desirable attributes present opposing properties in terms of ignition quality and oxidation stability. This is because esters with short, unsaturated and branched carbon chains possess very good cold flow but poor ignition quality and oxidation stability. The target is therefore to produce biodiesel with good cold flow, sufficient ignition quality, and good oxidation stability. This target proves to be quite difficult and is a major problem in biodiesel research. New frontiers in this research might be the design of the new cold flow improvers that is similar to those used in the petroleum diesel but is tailored for biodiesel. Genetic modifications of the existing feedstock are also desirable but the food uses of this particular feedstock should always be taken into consideration.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Yunus2012FactorsAT, title={Factors Affecting the Cold Flow Behaviour of Biodiesel and Methods for Improvement – A Review}, author={R. Yunus}, year={2012} }