In accordance with an EU directive, conventional automotive diesel is supplemented with seven percent biodiesel. This proportion is set to rise to ten percent by 2020. However, this presents a significant technical challenge: biodiesel vaporises at higher temperatures, which can lead to problems with electronic fuel injection systems and particulate filters. Researchers from Kaiserslautern, Bochum, and Rostock have developed a method for producing a petroleum diesel-like fuel from conventional biodiesel at low temperatures. The new biofuel fulfils the current EU and US requirements. It can be used undiluted in modern diesel engines or mixed in any ratio with petroleum diesel.
The researchers present their work in the prestigious journal Science Advances.
Joint press release by the University of Kaiserslautern and Ruhr-Universität Bochum
In Europe, biodiesel is largely produced from rapeseed oil. Chemically, it comprises long-chain hydrocarbon compounds, known as fatty acid methyl esters. It has different properties to diesel obtained from mineral oil. For instance, the boiling point is much higher.
The new technology was developed at the collaborative research centre ‘3MET’ at the University of Kaiserslautern. (In the photo: Agostino Antonio Biafora and Annika Bernhardt, members of 3MET.)
Credit: Thomas Koziel/ University of Kaiserslautern
This means biodiesel tends to vaporise only partially, and to form deposits on engine components. This makes pure biodiesel unsuitable as a fuel for standard engines. Injection pumps, seals, and pipes would need to be constructed differently. “Cars fuelled with pure biodiesel require specially designed engines,” explains Dr Lukas Gooßen.
In collaboration with chemists Kai Pfister and Sabrina Baader from the collaborative research centre ‘3MET’ at the University of Kaiserslautern, Gooßen has developed an innovative technique for treating biodiesel. “With virtually no energy input, we convert a mixture of plant-derived fatty esters and bio-ethylene, another chemical compound, into fuel,” the professor says. “This can be combusted undiluted in modern diesel engines.”
The particular advantage of this new technique is that the researchers are able to precisely adjust the chemical properties of the mixture. “We combine two catalytic methods to transform the long-chain fatty esters into a mixture of compounds with shorter chains,” he elaborates. This process changes the ignition and combustion properties of the biodiesel. Combustion starts at lower temperatures.
“We are thus able to adjust our biodiesel to the applicable standards for petroleum diesel,” Gooßen adds. Moreover, the process is environmentally friendly: it neither requires solvents, nor produces waste.
The two methods were synchronised with each other using mathematical simulations by Mathias Baader from the University of Kaiserslautern. Silvia Berndt at the University of Rostock proved that the mixture complies with the strict standard (EN 590) for modern diesel engines. In preliminary test runs, Kai Pfister has managed to demonstrate that this new diesel fuel can actually power a model car.
The research was carried out within the collaborative research centre ‘3MET’ (SFB/TRR 88 ‘Cooperative Effects in Homo and Heterometallic Complexes’) at the University of Kaiserslautern and the cluster of excellence ‘RESOLV’ (Ruhr Explores Solvation’) at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. It was also supported by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) and the Carl Zeiss Foundation.
Gooßen holds the Evonik Chair of Organic Chemistry at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Until last year, he was professor at the University of Kaiserslautern, where the new technology was developed. His graduate students Kai Pfister and Sabrina Baader have successfully completed their doctoral work and are now pursuing careers in industry.
The study was published in the prestigious journal Science Advances: ‘Biofuel by isomerizing metathesis of rapeseed oil esters with (bio)ethylene for use in contemporary diesel engines’.
Prof Dr Lukas J Gooßen
Tel.: +49 (0)234 32 19075
Dr Marc Prosenc
University of Kaiserslautern
Tel.: +49 (0)631 205 5185
Melanie Löw | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond
21.11.2017 | Emory Health Sciences
The main switch
21.11.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Life Sciences