Biodiesel has recently become a very controversed biofuel. It can be obtained from vegetable oil, animal fats, used cooking oil, microalgae and is a potential replacement of petroleum-based diesel fuel.
Biodiesel has a lot of advantages as it has potential for domestic production, it is biodegradable and has decreased emissions of carbon monoxide. But it also has some disadvantages: nitrogen oxide emissions and chemical instability, especially at high temperatures.
The barrier of using biofuels could be overcome by the method recently developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Two of the factors that affect biodiesel’s performance are oxidation and heat. NIST’s “advanced distillation curve” method can accelerate and simplify testing of biodiesels, according to lead author Tom Bruno. NIST chemists tried to prove that three effective additives with the new method reduce biodiesel oxidation at high temperatures. They used THQ, t-decalin and tetralin to help neutralize highly reactive “free radicals” formed at temperatures above 300 degrees Celsius.
Tests proved all three compounds stabilize biodiesel at high temperatures. The solutions containing 1% additive concentration, THQ seemed to be the best overall.