Synthesis, droplet combustion, and sooting characteristics of biodiesel produced from waste vegetable oils

T. X. Li, D. L. Zhu, N. K. Akafuah, K. Saito, C. K. Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


In light of the potential of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME, i.e. biodiesel) as a renewable energy source, an innovative acid catalyzed process was developed for the synthesis of biodiesel from waste vegetable oils. The synthesized biodiesels were analytically characterized for their major components, molar fraction and molecular weight of each component, the average molecular weight, and the heat of combustion. Their droplet combustion characteristics in terms of the burning rate, flame size, and sooting tendency were subsequently determined in a high-temperature, freely-falling droplet apparatus. Results show that the biodiesel droplet has higher burning rate, and that biodiesel in general has a lower propensity to soot because its molecular oxygen content promotes the oxidation of the soot precursors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2039-2046
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work conducted at the University of Kentucky was supported by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corp. through Kentucky New Energy Venture (KNEV) program, while that at Princeton University was jointly supported by the Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI) program co-sponsored by BP Corp. and Princeton University, and by the Combustion Energy Frontier Research Center, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Award Number DE-SC0001198.


  • Biodiesel
  • Droplet combustion
  • Soot formation
  • Surrogate mixtures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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