Biofuel by isomerizing metathesis of rapeseed oil esters with (bio)ethylene for use in contemporary diesel engines

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Science Advances  16 Jun 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 6, e1602624
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602624

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Rapeseed oil methyl ester (RME) and (bio)ethylene are converted into biofuel with an evenly rising boiling point curve, which fulfills the strict boiling specifications prescribed by the fuel standard EN 590 for modern (petro)diesel engines. Catalyzed by a Pd/Ru system, RME undergoes isomerizing metathesis in a stream of ethylene gas, leading to a defined olefin, monoester, and diester blend. This innovative refining concept requires negligible energy input (60°C) and no solvents and does not produce waste. It demonstrates that the pressing challenge of increasing the fraction of renewables in engine fuel may be addressed purely chemically rather than by motor engineering.

  • biofuel
  • catalysis
  • ethylene
  • isomerization
  • metathesis
  • renewables

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