Investigation of the effects of the fatty acid profile on fuel properties using a multi-criteria decision analysis

Md Aminul Islam, Richard J. Brown, Peter Richard Brooks, Mohammad I. Jahirul, Henning Bockhorn, Kirsten Ruth Heimann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The structural features of fatty acids in biodiesel, including degree of unsaturation, percentage of saturated fatty acids and average chain length, influence important fuel properties such as cetane number, iodine value, density, kinematic viscosity, higher heating value and oxidation stability. The composition of fatty acid esters within the fuel should therefore be in the correct ratio to ensure fuel properties are within international biodiesel standards such as ASTM 6751 or EN 14214. This study scrutinises the influence of fatty acid composition and individual fatty acids on fuel properties. Fuel properties were estimated based on published equations, and measured according to standard procedure ASTM D6751 and EN 14214 to confirm the influences of the fatty acid profile. Based on fatty acid profile-derived calculations, the cetane number of the microalgal biodiesel was estimated to be 11.6, but measured 46.5, which emphasises the uncertainty of the method used for cetane number calculation. Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA), PROMETHEE-GAIA, was used to determine the influence of individual fatty acids on fuel properties in the GAIA plane. Polyunsaturated fatty acids increased the iodine value and had a negative influence on cetane number. Kinematic viscosity was negatively influenced by some long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids such as C20:5 and C22:6 and some of the more common saturated fatty acids C14:0 and C18:0. The positive impact of average chain length on higher heating value was also confirmed in the GAIA plane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-347
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • Biodiesel standard
  • Fatty acid
  • Fuel property
  • Microalgae


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