Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Britt A. Holmen


Biodiesel use and production has significantly increased in the United States and in other parts of the world in the past decade. This change is driven by energy security and global climate legislation mandating reductions in the use of petroleum-based diesel. Recent air quality research has shown that emission of some pollutants such as CO, particulate matter (PM), SO2, hydrocarbons, and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is greatly reduced with biodiesel. However, studies have also shown that some unregulated emissions, such as gas-phase carbonyls, are increased with biodiesel combustion. Very limited research has been done to investigate the particle-phase carbonyl and quinone emissions from biodiesel combustion. Also, very limited studies have investigated the ozone oxidation of biodiesel exhaust PM. Fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) are found in high abundance in biodiesel exhaust PM. The presence of these FAMEs in biodiesel exhaust PM can potentially alter the kinetics of the reactions between ozone and particle-phase PAHs.

In this study, an Armfield CM-12 automotive light-duty diesel engine operated on a transient drive cycle was used to generate PM from various waste vegetable oil (WVO) and soybean biodiesel blends (containing 0%, (B00), 10% (B10), 20% (B20), 50% (B50), and 100% (B100) biodiesel by volume). The primary PM emissions were sampled using Teflon-coated fiberfilm filters. Laboratory PAHs, FAMEs, and B20 exhaust PM were exposed to ~0.4 ppm ozone for time periods ranging from 0-24 hours in order to study the effect of FAMEs and biodiesel exhaust PM on the ozonolysis of PAHs. Organic chemical analysis of samples was performed using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). PAHs, carbonyls, FAMEs, and n-alkanes were quantified in the exhaust PM of petrodiesel, WVO and soybean fuel blends. The emission rates of the total PAHs in B10, B20, B50, and B100 exhaust PM decreased by 0.006-0.071 ng/µg (5-51%) compared to B00, while the emission rates for the FAMEs increased with increasing biodiesel content in the fuel. The emission rates of the total n-alkanes in B10, B20, B50, and B100 exhaust PM decreased by 0.5-21.3 ng/µg (4-86%) compared to B00 exhaust PM. The total emission rates of the aliphatic aldehydes in biodiesel exhaust PM (B10, B20, B50, and B100) increased by 0.019-2.485 ng/µg (36-4800%) compared to petrodiesel. The emission rates of the total aromatic aldehydes, total aromatic ketones, and total quinones all generally decreased with increasing biodiesel content in the fuel.

With the exception of benzo[a]pyrene, the pseudo-first order ozone reaction rate constants of all the PAHs decreased by 1.2-8 times in the presence of the FAMEs. Phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and pyrene were the only PAHs detected in the B20 exhaust PM, and their ozone reaction rate constants were about 4 times lower than those obtained when the PAHs alone were exposed to ozone.

The findings of this study indicate that there are both positive and negative effects to emissions associated with biodiesel use in light-duty diesel engines operating on transient drive cycle.



Number of Pages

264 p.

Available for download on Friday, March 17, 2017