Mechanism and kinetics of thermal decomposition of biodiesel fuel

Ronghong Lin, Yiying Zhu, Lawrence L. Tavlarides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Batch thermal stressing experiments have been conducted to investigate thermal stability and decomposition of biodiesel fuel in the temperature range of 250-425 °C. It was found that biodiesel was stable below 275 °C and thermal decomposition took place at 275 °C or above. It has been clearly demonstrated that biodiesel decomposition mainly involves isomerization, polymerization (Diels-Alder reaction) and pyrolysis reactions, and they occur in the temperature ranges of 275-400 °C, 300-425 °C and >350 °C, respectively. A six-lump model and a reduced three-lump model are proposed to describe the decomposition mechanism. Finally, experimental data were modeled by both reversible and irreversible general first order reactions, and it has been shown that the biodiesel decomposition kinetics can be well represented by the reversible model. The standard enthalpy of reaction for biodiesel decomposition was determined to be 80 kJ/mol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-604
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2013


  • Biodiesel
  • Isomerization
  • Pyrolysis
  • Reaction mechanism and kinetics
  • Thermal decomposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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