In situ biodiesel testing technology presented at AOCS meeting

By Ron Kotrba | July 31, 2014

Biodico’s Vice President of Research and Development Trey Teall presented the results of a five-year research project in May at the 105th American Oil Chemists’ Society Annual Meeting & Expo in San Antonio, Texas. The project focused on the use of Fourier Transform Near-infrared Spectroscopy to provide real-time in situ analysis of the biodiesel production process as an alternative to conventional ASTM biodiesel methodology.

ASTM D6751 protocols require the use of techniques that are relatively time-consuming and provide data about the state of the biodiesel reaction kinetics after the fact. For example, the use of gas chromatography (GC) to determine mono, di and tri glycerides, and free glycerin will take a trained technician more than 45 minutes. It requires that a sample be drawn, reacted (silylated) and run through the GC, and the results indicate what the reaction state was, instead of what it is in real time. In contrast, Teall’s research has shown that the use of FT-NIRS can be conducted with sensors imbedded in various production process streams and provide highly accurate, near-instantaneous data about the state of the reaction. It can also detect low-level contaminants to ensure that finished biodiesel meets the requirements of ASTM D6751 for finished biodiesel.

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