Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Fractional Crystallization of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters(ST9387-1)

Alternative Aviation Fuels, LLC


Fatty acid methyl esters are commonly called biodiesel (B100). Biodiesel or biodiesel blends cannot currently be used in aviation fuels because cold flow properties are unacceptable for this application. Fractional crystallization is a physical separation process that can help address this issue.

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Project Description

The goal of the project was to develop, via fractional crystallization, a biodiesel product with improved cold flow properties that could be used in aviation markets.


A successful project would lead to a fuel usable at temperatures as low as -45 degrees Celsius.

Project Results

Stage One objectives included establishing cooling curves of the fuel and its feedstocks, then conducting fractional crystallization experiments to find the most suitable combination of fuel and process conditions. Cooling curves were established with retention times of less than one hour, including pre-cooling. Short cooling times allow for a more energy-efficient crystallization process that uses counter-flow product heat recovery. Researchers proved that deep chilling followed by a flash melt is a promising avenue to produce a slurry that contains crystals with higher mean square sizes, or, in other words, fewer fine particles. A favorable particle size distribution eases concerns regarding filterability of the particles from the liquid product; separation of the larger particles in the slurry could potentially be accomplished via conventional equipment such as a cyclone or centrifugation. A monitoring system that feeds back information on crystal size distribution to help set parameters in real time was also successfully tested for this continuous crystallization process. These results are promising enough to possibly entice equipment suppliers to join the commercialization team, though they have not yet done so. During this Stage Two project, researchers attempted to optimize the system to specified crystal sizes and separation targets.


Alternative Aviation Fuels, LLC
29 Legendary Cir
Rye Brook, NY 10573

Principle Investigator

Michel Delafontaine

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Judy Jarnefeld


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST9387-1

Last Updated: 10/21/2014