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An Assessment of Biofuels and Synthetic Fuels as Substitutions of Conventional Diesel and Jet Fuels
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
2008 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Today, a majority of the world’s energy need is supplied through sources that are finite and, at the current usage rates, will be consumed shortly. The high energy demand and pollution problems caused by the widespread use of fossil fuels make it increasingly necessary to develop renewable energy sources of limitless duration with smaller environmental impact than the traditional energy sources.

Three fuels – rapeseed methyl ester (RME), Fischer-Tropsch (FT) diesel and FT jet fuel – derived from biomass, coal or gas were evaluated in this project. The fuel properties evaluated are in most cases listed in standards, often with recommendations, developed for biodiesel, petroleum diesel and jet fuel.

Biodiesel is monoalkyl esters, e.g. RME, produced by transesterification of triglycerides in vegetable oil and an alcohol to esters and glycerin. This produce a fuel that is suitable as a direct substitution for petroleum diesel. Biodiesel may be used in pure form or in a blend with petrodiesel. Oxidative degradation and weak low temperature performance of biodiesel are properties of concern when substituting petrodiesel with biodiesel, as was shown in this project. The experiments show that oxidative stability can be improved with a synthetic antioxidant, e.g. butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

The FT process converts syngas (a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide) to a range of hydrocarbons. Syngas can be generated from a variety of carbon sources, e.g. coal, natural gas and biomass. The high-temperature (300-350 °C) FT process with iron-based catalysts is used for the production of gasoline and linear low molecular mass olefins (alkenes). The lowtemperature (200-240 °C) FT process with either iron or cobalt catalysts is used for the production of high molecular mass linear waxes. By applying various downstream processes, fuels suitable for substitution of petrodiesel and conventional jet fuel can be obtained. The FT fuels have lower densities than the conventional fuels. However, conclusions from this project are that most of the properties of FT fuels are better, or equal, than conventional petroleum fuels.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för fysik, kemi och biologi , 2008. , 44 p.
Keyword [en]
Renewable energy sources, Biodiesel, Fischer-Tropsch Fuels, Oxidative degradation
National Category
Analytical Chemistry
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-11138ISRN: LITH-IFM-EX-08/1912-SEOAI: diva2:17579
Subject / course
Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics
Available from: 2008-03-05 Created: 2008-03-05 Last updated: 2012-04-24

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