Quantifying Free and Total Glycerine in Biodiesel

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CONFERENCE: Student Research and Creative Activity Fair

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Korf, Byron
poster description
Biodiesel is a renewable source of fuel that reduces the dependence of fossil fuels. It is manufactured by recycling used fats and oils. Due to its growing popularity, small-scale biodiesel operations are being built to meet the demand. However, strong standards have been put in place to sell biodiesel commercially. Biodiesel needs to be very low in its by-products, free and bound glycerol, to meet those standards. For small-scale producers, the cost of testing for impurities is high. It is our goal in this project, to develop a method to quantify glycerol content that is accurate and cost effective. We have collected data from varying samples on both GC-FID and NIR instruments. We developed a method for quantifying free glycerol, monoglycerides, diglycerides, and triglycerides in the samples using two internal standards: tricaprin and butanetriol. The method proved effective as our results were as expected. The hope is that we can build a calibration curve that will allow us to quantify the free and total glycerol content using the near-infrared instrument with the same effectiveness.