, Volume 72, Issue 10, pp 1155-1160

Use of branched-chain esters to reduce the crystallization temperature of biodiesel

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To reduce the tendency of biodiesel to crystallize at low temperatures, branched-chain alcohols were used to esterify various fats and oils, and the crystallization properties of the branched esters were compared with those of methyl esters by using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), cloud point, and pour point. Compared with the methyl esters that are commonly used in biodiesel, branched-chain esters greatly reduced the crystallization onset temperature (TCO) of neat esters and their corresponding ester diesel fuel blends. Isopropyl and 2-butyl esters of normal (∼10 wt% palmitate) soybean oil (SBO) crystallized 7–11 and 12–14°C lower, respectively, than the corresponding methyl esters. The benefit of the branched-chain esters in lowering TCO increased when the esters were blended with diesel fuel. Esters made from a low-palmitate (3.8%) SBO crystallized 5–6°C lower than those of normal SBO. Isopropyl esters of lard and tallow had TCO values similar to that of methyl esters of SBO. DSC provided an accurate means of monitoring crystallization, and the DSC results correlated with cloud and pour point measurements.