Upgraded Biodiesel (H-FAME) via Partial Hydrogenation for Higher Biodiesel Blends in Thailand
With depleting fossil fuel resources and increasing concern on climate change mitigation, renewable low-carbon biofuel has been widely considered for transportation fuel. Since 2008, Thailand has been commercially blending conventional biodiesel, also known as Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME), from palm oil in petroleum diesel fuel as an optional fuel till a mandate of 5% in 2012 and subsequently 7% in 2014. Higher percentage blends to alleviate climate change problems would be more desirable; however, increasing biodiesel blending faces several issues, especially quality assurance and automotive/materials compatibility.
Innovative biodiesel upgrading process, known as H-FAME (partially Hydrogenated Fatty Acid Methyl Ester), has been developed through the Japan-Thailand collaboration during 2010-2016 aiming for higher blend acceptance by car manufacturers by lowering the monoglyceride content from 0.7wt% to 0.4wt%. As a result, H-FAME has been adopted in the Thailand Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP: 2015-2036) as a potential technology to support higher blends of biodiesel use.
Consequently, the national biodiesel (B10) project was supported by the Energy Conservation (ENCON) fund to further upscale the H-FAME process for larger scale vehicle testing. With successful B10 testing results from eight common-rail pick-up trucks at 100,000 km each and 150 vehicles fuelling 100,000 liters, Thailand has revised its biodiesel specification by lowering the monoglyceride content from 0.7wt% to 0.4wt% for the commercial launch of B10 in May 2019, which became a base diesel after January 2020.