Thin layer chromatography and image analysis to detect glycerol in biodiesel

Karan Bansal, Jonathan McCrady, Alan Hansen, Kaustubh Bhalerao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glycerol is a by-product of biodiesel production and is also considered a contaminant in the final product. Current US and EU standards place limits on the permissible levels of free glycerol and bound (unconverted) mono, di and triglycerides in biodiesel, which can be quantified using gas or high pressure liquid chromatography. We report a method based on thin layer chromatography that can be effectively used to determine the presence of glycerol in biodiesel. Visual and machine (image analysis) detection limits of 0.1% and 0.2% v/v of free glycerol, respectively, were established using this procedure. In conjunction with a suitable sample enrichment procedure, this procedure could provide a cost effective alternative to glycerol detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3369-3372
Number of pages4
Issue number15-16
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Biodiesel
  • Glycerol
  • Image analysis
  • Thin layer chromatography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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