Lon J. Rombough wrote:
> From: "ARS News Service" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: "ARS News List" <email@example.com>
> Subject: NIR Helps Turn Vegetable Oil into High-Quality Biofuel
> Date: Tue, Jun 15, 1999, 6:35 AM
> NEWS RELEASE:
> NIR Helps Turn Vegetable Oil into High-Quality Biofuel
> ARS News Service
> Agricultural Research Service, USDA
> June 15, 1999
> Linda McGraw, (309) 681-6530, firstname.lastname@example.org
> PEORIA, Ill., June 15--To help speed the development of biodiesel fuels made
> with vegetable oils, scientists at USDA's Agricultural Research Service here
> have adapted a sophisticated tool known as near-infrared spectroscopy, or
> Baby-boomers remember the lines at gas stations when the oil embargo of the
> 1970's hit. Despite the oil shortage, America's farm tractors continued to
> roll because of USDA research that turned vegetable oils into alternative
> The trend will continue in the 21st century, when motorists will see more
> public vehicles--buses, trains, trucks, and government-owned maintenance
> equipment--running on biodiesel fuels made from soybean oil. By the year
> 2001, the Federal Energy Policy Act requires that 75 percent of all new
> state and federal vehicles be filled with alternative fuels.
> Until now, the standard for measuring biodiesel quality has been a complex
> analytical method called gas chromatography, or simply GC.
> "But GC is a complex piece of laboratory equipment, requiring technical
> expertise and at least an hour to perform," said Gerhard H. Knothe, an ARS
> chemist in Peoria, Ill. Another drawback of GC is it requires chemical
> reagents and solvents that need special handling and costly disposal.
> Knothe has developed a safer and faster way to check the quality of
> biodiesel fuel by using NIR. Much of the pioneering work on biodiesel fuels
> began where Knothe works, at ARS' National Center for Agricultural
> Utilization Research.
> "NIR is a nifty tool also used for determining fatty acid composition in
> vegetable oils and oil content in seeds," said Knothe. Another plus: No
> special training is needed to perform the NIR test.
> The researchers are developing the method for more effective production
> monitoring and fuel quality control, improvements needed by the biodiesel
> producers. Biodiesel producers need to know early if the chemical reactions
> that occur during biodiesel fuel production are successful.
> Using NIR, Knothe can measure the conversion of vegetable oil to biodiesel
> fuel in less than a minute.
> NIR coupled with a fiber-optic probe uses light rather than chemicals to
> perform the analysis. Checking the biodiesel fuel quality is important
> because potential contaminants in the fuel could lead to engine deposits.
> "Our test will help biodiesel fuel producers determine if their products
> meet the quality standards of the American Society for Testing and
> Materials," Knothe said.
> Scientific contact: Gerhard H. Knothe, Oil Chemical Research Unit, ARS
> National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Peoria, Ill., phone
> (309) 681-6417, fax (309) 681-6340, email@example.com.
> This item is one of the news releases and story leads that ARS Information
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