Simultaneous determination of hydrocarbon renewable diesel, biodiesel and petroleum diesel contents in diesel fuel blends using near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and chemometrics.Analyst. 2013 Nov 07; 138(21):6477-87.A
Highly polluting fuels based on non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels need to be replaced with potentially less polluting renewable fuels derived from vegetable or animal biomass, these so-called biofuels, are a reality nowadays and many countries have started the challenge of increasing the use of different types of biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel (fatty acid alkyl esters), often mixed with petroleum derivatives, such as gasoline and diesel, respectively. The quantitative determination of these fuel blends using simple, fast and low cost methods based on near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy combined with chemometric methods has been reported. However, advanced biofuels based on a mixture of hydrocarbons or a single hydrocarbon molecule, such as farnesane (2,6,10-trimethyldodecane), a hydrocarbon renewable diesel, can also be used in mixtures with biodiesel and petroleum diesel fuel and the use of NIR spectroscopy for the quantitative determination of a ternary fuel blend of these two hydrocarbon-based fuels and biodiesel can be a useful tool for quality control. This work presents a development of an analytical method for the quantitative determination of hydrocarbon renewable diesel (farnesane), biodiesel and petroleum diesel fuel blends using NIR spectroscopy combined with chemometric methods, such as partial least squares (PLS) and support vector machines (SVM). This development leads to a more accurate, simpler, faster and cheaper method when compared to the standard reference method ASTM D6866 and with the main advantage of providing the individual quantification of two different biofuels in a mixture with petroleum diesel fuel. Using the developed PLS model the three fuel blend components were determined simultaneously with values of root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) of 0.25%, 0.19% and 0.38% for hydrocarbon renewable diesel, biodiesel and petroleum diesel, respectively, the values obtained were in agreement with those suggested by reference methods for the determination of renewable fuels.