As a by-product, free glycerol is one of the most important impurities of biodiesel, which is a non-fossil and clean fuel
The Iranian and Malaysian scientists made the achievement by a new method to electrochemically synthesize nickel nanoparticles and to modify the surface of composite graphite electrode with the nanoparticles through voltametric methods.
The purpose of the research was to manufacture a precise sensor with high sensitivity and reasonable price in order to measure free glycerol. To this end, the surface of the composite graphite electrode was modified through voltameteric methods by using nickel nanoparticles with average size of approximately 10 nanometres. Then, the modified electrode was studied and used in the electro-oxidation and free glycerol measurement in biodiesel due to the presence of nickel nanocatalyst on its surface.
To put it in brief, the result of the research was to produce an electrochemical electrode or nanosensor based on nickel nanocatalyst in order to determine and measure glycerol or free glycerol in biodiesel with a sensitivity of 0.033 milimolar. Due to the small size of the nickel nanoparticles (approximately 10 nanometres), which have been distributed homogenously on the surface of the composite graphite, active catalytic sites increase on the surface of the electrode. Therefore, significant production of anode current is observed and the sensitivity of the electrode (nanosensor) for the measurement of low amounts of glycerol increases noticeably.
The result of the research, that has been carried out in cooperation with Prof. Sulaiman Ab Ghani, PhD in chemistry from the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), has been published in details on 30 May 2012 in Electrochimica Acta, vol. 70, issue 13, pp. 153-157