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New oxygenate additive for diesel fuels from glycerol

Researchers from Tatung and National Cheng Kung Universities in China, and Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, report manufacturing a new oxygenate additive for diesels (bio or petroleum) using glycerol (a major byproduct of biodiesel production), dimethyl sulfate (DMS), and sodium hydroxide pellets as raw materials.

A paper on the work is published in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

By feeding the dimethyl sulfate into the batch reactor containing the sodium glycerate, a semi-batch mode operation enhanced the effective methylation of glycerol. A conventional stirred tank reactor that can produce large quantities of oxygenate additives under a normal atmospheric pressure operation became the main feature of the methylation process.

With a 3:2 molar ratio of DMS to glycerol, a 3:1 molar ratio of sodium hydroxide to glycerol, a 0.43:1 molar ratio of water to sodium hydroxide, and a temperature of 343 K at the reaction time of 24 h with the feeding time of DMS under 12 h, the conversion of glycerol (93.5%) and a combined yield of GDMEs and GTME of 71.2% were achieved for a once-through operation. A product mixture of GDME (20 wt %) and GTME (80 wt %) served as a new oxygenate additive for (bio or petroleum) diesels.

—Chang et al.


  • Jyh-Shyong Chang, Yu-Da Lee, Lawrence Chao-Shan Chou, Tzong-Rong Ling, and Tse-Chuan Chou (2011) Methylation of Glycerol with Dimethyl Sulfate To Produce a New Oxygenate Additive for Diesels. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research doi: 10.1021/ie201612t



And, we're supposed to understand the significance of this and/or give a Rat'sAss because....why???

Does anyone with a PhD in chemistry care to tell us why this matters? We know they have to use some type of oxygenate or other, but is this better? Cheaper? more effective? make it cleaner? What????


Well, isn't Glycerol the waste product from Biodiesel production?


I don't know. According to Wikipedia, it comes mainly as a byproduct of soap I wouldn't think it would be that scarce anyway?


Hmmmm, maybe that makes it really cheap and THAT is the advantage?


Mandates for renewable fuels have created a worldwide surplus of millions of tons of glycerol as a byproduct of biodiesel production. This resulted in a collapse in glycerol prices and research to find alternate uses for glycerol.
At the Kent science park near where I live, Aquafuel Research is researching glycerol as a clean fuel for residential Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and for series hybrid city buses where low emissions are valuable:

An oxygenate additive for diesel fuels from glycerol is another promising idea. Use the waste glycerol from biodiesel to provide an oxygenate for the fossil diesel.
An advantage of this approach is that the oxygenate from waste glycerol feeds into the same fuel distribution system as the biodiesel blended into fossil diesel.

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