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Oxidation stability of biodiesel (fatty acid methyl esters, FAME) and biodiesel blends
Increasing use of renewable energies
Fuels from renewable vegetable sources have seen an impressive increase in use. Unlike fossil fuels, biogenic fuels reduce the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere and may slow down global warming. In addition, alternative fuels such as biodiesel are biodegradable and thus less environmentally harmful.
What is biodiesel?
Fatty acid methyl esters have gained considerable economic importance as alternative fuels. Also known as biodiesel or FAME (fatty acid methyl esters) they are usually obtained from oil seeds. In the transport sector they are mainly used in a mixture with conventional diesel, as so-called biodiesel blend.
Transesterification of vegetable oils with methanol produces the methyl esters of the fatty acids (together with glycerol as a byproduct). These have only a limited shelf-life as they are slowly oxidized by atmospheric oxygen.
The oxidation stability has become a standard parameter used to define the minimum quality requirements of biodiesel and biodiesel blends.