Measurement and Control Strategies for Sterol Glucosides to Improve Biodiesel Quality - Year 2
One of the most challenging problems for biodiesel utilization is fuel filter plugging due to low fuel quality. The biodiesel industry has been successful in eliminating most quality issues by enforcing high standards. However, one cause of low fuel quality that is not yet addressed by current specifications and that remains poorly understood is the presence of plant sterols and their derivatives in biodiesel.
Plant sterols are naturally occurring steroids. Some derivatives of plant sterols are insoluble in biodiesel and serve as nuclei around which other impurities form crystalline complexes that ultimately leads to filter plugging. One type of compound that is believed to be a primary source of fuel filtering plugging for biodiesel is sterol glucosides.
Little information is currently available to determine the extent of the sterol glucosides problem. One obstacle to determining the severity of the problem is an inability to measure these compounds in the industry and research community. Additionally, limited resources exist to provide possible solutions to the problem. To address this important issue, we intend to develop the capability to detect and measure sterol glucosides and other major compounds in biodiesel and to determine the effect of processing on removing such chemicals to improve fuel quality.