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Comparison of Alternative Diesel Fuels with the Composition-Explicit Distillation Curve Method



Raina V. Gough, Thomas J. Bruno


In recent years, environmental considerations, the potential for supply disruptions, and rising fuel prices have led to the development of alternative diesel fuels produced from non-petroleum feedstocks. It is important to characterize the properties of these fuels in order to assess the degree of departure of the alternative fuels from the petroleum-derived fuels. One of the most important properties to use for this purpose is the volatility, as expressed by the distillation curve. In this paper, we present advanced distillation curve measurements of three alternative diesel fuels and compare the distillation curve, composition, and combustion enthalpy to those of petroleum-derived diesel fuel. We studied a biodiesel fuel composed of hydrotreated animal and vegetable fats and two gas-to-liquid diesel fuels, one synthesized from coal-derived gas and one produced from wood waste gases. We found that the distillation curves of the three alternative diesel fuels are fairly similar to petroleum-derived diesel fuel, deviating at most 30°C from the distillation curve of petroleum-derived diesel. In general, the most significant deviations from petroleum-derived diesel are found in the "light" region (10-30% distillate volume fraction) and the "heavy" region (70-90% distillate volume fraction) of the distillation curve. The diesel fuel made from wood waste gases was able to most closely mimic the volatility and enthalpy of petroleum-derived diesel fuel.
Energy and Fuels


distillation curve, alternative fuels, diesel fuel, chemical analysis


Gough, R. and Bruno, T. (2012), Comparison of Alternative Diesel Fuels with the Composition-Explicit Distillation Curve Method, Energy and Fuels, [online], (Accessed April 24, 2024)
Created October 18, 2012, Updated October 12, 2021