Use of biodiesel

Biodiesel application

Biodiesel mainly refers to fatty acid methyl esters, which can be used as fuels, and can also be used as raw materials or intermediates for chemical products, such as industrial solvents, or for preparing surfactants.


The main use of biodiesel is as a blending component for clean petroleum diesel and for the production of clean diesel that meets Euro III standards. Compared with petroleum diesel, biodiesel has the advantages of high cetane number, low sulfur content, no aromatic hydrocarbons, high flash point, good lubricating performance and fast biodegradation. In foreign countries, the main varieties and uses of biodiesel as fuel include:
(1) 100% biodiesel. This has strict requirements on raw materials and products. For example, Germany uses low-erucic acid and low-sulfur rapeseed oil to produce products that meet Euro III emission requirements. Several countries in Europe and the United States have 100% biodiesel standards, and the US biodiesel standard (ASTM D6751-03) is given in Table 1.1.

(2) Biodiesel and petroleum diesel are used in blending. The amount of biodiesel commonly used abroad is 2%, 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, etc., which are called B2, B5, B10, B20 and B30 diesel. The role of biodiesel in B2 diesel is to improve the lubricity of diesel. Higher levels of biodiesel help reduce harmful emissions and protect the environment. At present, there is no separate standard for the blended diesel in foreign countries, as long as 100% biodiesel meets the corresponding standards. For example, the United States requires that biodiesel must meet the ASTM D6751 standard before it can be used as a diesel blending component.

(3) Household heating furnace fuel. Domestically, biodiesel is rarely used as a fuel. One of the main reasons is that the country has not yet issued relevant standards, and the Institute of Petrochemical Sciences is currently in the process of being formulated. In addition, each biodiesel manufacturer generally has its own corporate standards, such as the standard Q/LYZY01-2002 developed by Fujian Excellence New Energy Development Corporation.

Chemical products or chemical intermediates

(1) Low sulfur low aromatic diesel lubricating additive

Due to the deep hydrotreating, the lubricity of diesel is lowered, and the use of diesel having poor lubricity increases the wear of the pump and is prone to accidents. In order to improve the lubricity of diesel fuel, it is necessary to add diesel lubricating additives. Currently, lubricating additives commonly used in the industry mainly include some amines, esters, acids or mixed components thereof. Biodiesel has better lubricity. The United States has patented biodiesel as a diesel lubricating additive (US 5730029 and US 5891203), and a lot of work has been done abroad on the lubrication promotion of biodiesel. In the B2 diesel used in the United States, biodiesel is actually added as a lubricating additive for diesel.

(2) Industrial solvent

Industrial solvents have played an increasingly important role in various industrial fields. At the same time, its environmental pollution has also become a focus of attention. With the environmental awareness of manufacturers and consumers and the awareness of their own protection, environmentally friendly solvents have become the main direction of industrial solvent development. Environmentally friendly industrial solvents require solvents with high flash point and ignition point, low toxicity, low levels of volatile organic compounds, low odor, and easy degradation. Fatty acid methyl esters derived from vegetable oils meet these characteristics. The fatty acid methyl ester has the characteristics of renewability, low volatile organic matter content, high flash point, easy degradation, non-toxicity and strong solubility, and has been used as an industrial solvent in foreign countries. At present, fatty acid methyl esters are widely used as industrial solvents in the United States. The United States applies soybean oil methyl ester in the following areas: cleaning of industrial parts and metal surfaces; use as a resin washing and removing agent; used to collect spilled petroleum; in addition, biodiesel type fatty acid esters are also available. As a carrier fluid for drilling mud, Henkel has applied for several patents in the United States.

(3) Surfactant

Petroleum-based surfactants are derived from non-renewable resources, are difficult to biodegrade, easily pollute the environment, and are incompatible with the development trend of society. Therefore, they are easily biodegradable by natural renewable resources, safe to the human body and the environment, and multifunctional and efficient. Surfactants have become the main development direction of the surfactant industry in recent years. Fatty acid methyl esters are raw materials for a wide range of surfactants. From fatty acid methyl esters, various surfactants can be produced, for example, by sulfonation to produce fatty acid methyl ester sulfonates, by hydrogenation to produce fatty alcohols and the like. Most of the world’s natural fatty alcohols are produced by catalytic hydrogenation of fatty acid methyl esters. The fatty alcohol is ethoxylated to produce an alcohol ether, and the alcohol ether is neutralized by sulfonation to produce an alcohol ether sulfate. The fatty alcohol can also be sulfonated and neutralized to produce a primary alkyl sulfate. Thus, fatty acid methyl esters are the starting materials and intermediates for surfactants such as fatty acid methyl ester sulfonates, alcohol ethers, alcohol ether sulfates, and primary alkyl sulfates.

(4) Industrial chemicals

Fatty acid esters are widely used in industrial chemicals. These applications are usually based on various chemical structures of fatty acids, including fatty acid hydroxylation, epoxidation, sulfation/sulfonation, etc., corresponding to hydroxy fatty acid esters, rings. Oxidized fatty acid esters, fatty acid ester sulfates/sulfo fatty acid esters. These derivatives are not direct products of biodiesel plants, but their production can be combined with biodiesel production to increase the overall economics of biodiesel plants. These biodiesel fatty acid esters and derivatives thereof have many uses, such as in medicines and cosmetics, various fine chemicals, printing inks, magnetic recording media, and the like.

(5) Agricultural chemicals: This includes active ingredients of fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and their synergists, but fatty acid esters cannot be used as active ingredients of insecticides or herbicides, but as their Synergist. In addition to this, fatty acid esters have other uses, such as a desiccant for cereals together with other substances.

(6) Lubricant

Lubricants are a complex mixture of components, and base stock is the primary carrier fluid for the lubricant mixture. Most of the lubricant bases used today come from petroleum. These petroleum bases are poor in lubricity and thermal stability, and additives are needed to improve their performance. Derivatives of fatty acid esters have a wide range of applications in automotive oil additives: epoxidized fatty acid esters are used as lubricants for lubricants; the use of vulcanized biodiesel type esters and paraffins can increase the high pressure of lubricants. Lubricity, etc. In addition, biodiesel type esters can be used directly as lubricants in metal processing to prepare seamless containers, or as lubricants for high shear high speed metal rolling processes; chlorinated or thio fatty acid esters. It is used as a water-based lubricant for metal processing; a fatty acid ester is used as a component of a pour point depressant for industrial lubricants, and the like.

(7) Plastics and plasticizers

Biodegradable plastics are a key focus for the future development of the plastics industry. One method of producing biodegradable plastics is to introduce an aliphatic polyester having an ester group structure which is degradable by microorganisms in the molecular structure of the polymer. Biodiesel type fatty acid esters and their derivatives can be used as polymer resin monomers
Another use of biodiesel type fatty acid esters is as a plasticizer for polymeric materials. The role of plasticizers is to improve the flow properties of thermoplastics and is the most widely used additive in plastics. At present, the production and consumption of plasticizers are mainly phthalates with good comprehensive performance and low price. In addition, fatty acid esters are also an important plasticizer compound, such as plasticizer for automobile tires. Agent, elastomer stabilizer, and the like.

(8) Binder: Biodiesel type fatty acid esters are not used in adhesives, and there are few foreign patents, such as reactants for preparing binder materials. Another interesting application of biodiesel in adhesives is as a binder remover, such as to remove the adhesive from the patch or conveyor belt.

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