Analytical Instrumentation

One Methodology For FFA, Fame and Tag Analysis In Biodiesel Using UltraPerformance LC and Evaporative Light Scattering and Photodiode Array Detection

Aug 06 2007

Author: Peter J. Lee & Alice J. Di Gioia on behalf of Waters UK Limited

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Defined as fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) of seed oils and animal fat, biodiesel is commonly produced by transesterification of triacylglycerols (TAG) with methanol in the presence of a catalyst (Figure 1). Potential contaminants of biodiesel products include unreacted TAG, reaction intermediates [mono-acylglycerols (MAG) and diacylglycerols (DAG)], reaction by-products (glycerol), and free fatty acids (FFA) from unwanted hydrolysis reactions. Contaminated biodiesel can lead to severe problems in trucks, automobiles and airplanes such as engine deposits, filter clogging, and fuel deterioration. To minimize this, production status is monitored to recognize and correct any problems at an early stage and also to quantify the contaminants in the final biodiesel product. Gas chromatography (GC) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) are common analytical techniques for this analysis. However, these techniques consume valuable personnel and instrumentation time. Also lab workers are often exposed to carcinogenic, halogenated solvents to perform needed analyses.

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