Review of synthesis, characteristics and technical challenges of biodiesel based drilling fluids

Amany A. Aboulrous* (Corresponding Author), Amin Sharifi Haddad* (Corresponding Author), Roozbeh Rafati, Natalie Vanessa Boyou, Ahmed M. AlSabagh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Over the last decades, biodiesel-based drilling fluids have drawn attention of researchers due to their biodegradability, low cost, high flash point compared to other synthetic-based drilling fluids. This review study discusses the development of biodiesel-based drilling fluids and analyzes the characteristics of biodiesels (based on the required range of values for their properties) that lead to better understanding in choosing the proper biodiesel for the drilling fluids. Although, using biodiesels as the base oil in drilling fluids, showed a favourable performance, it still poses some technical challenges such as excessive viscosity, poor pour point, low hydrolytic stability and water-in-biodiesel emulsion stability. In this study, recommended solutions including chemical modification of biodiesel's molecular structure, additives and mixing with other oils are presented. It was highlighted that the modification of biodiesel structure or the use of additives can be expensive and promote incompatibility with the other drilling fluids components. On the other hand, blending biodiesels with other base oils, showed promising solutions for the challenges of high viscosity, poor pour point and hydrolytic stability. It was found that the environmentally-friendly oils to mix with biodiesels, are synthetic esters, paraffins and linear alpha olefins. Furthermore, recent studies have suggested the use of nanomaterials (with hydrophobic characteristics) to stabilize water-in-biodiesel emulsion drilling fluids.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 130344
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date14 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

The Egyptian authors were supported by Science, Technology & Innovation Funding Authority (STDF) under the grant (30894). The UK's authors would like to acknowledge the financial support from an Institutional Links grant, ID 352343681, under the Newton-Mosharafa Fund partnership. The grant is funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and delivered by the British Council. We are also grateful to the publishers, journals, and authors who provided their permission for us to reproduce their figures and tables in this review.


  • Biodegradability
  • biodisel
  • Drilling fluids
  • ester
  • nano materials
  • pickering


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