Optimization of waterless biodiesel production from palm stearin using response surface methodology
Keywords:homogeneous transesterification, co-solvent, waterless purification, ion exchange resin bed, response surface methodology
In this research study, homogeneous transesterification of palm stearin using acetone as co-solvent and waterless purification of biodiesel were studied. The response surface methodology (RSM) statistical technique based on Box-Behnken design was applied to determine the optimum conditions for the transesterification process and the effects of the main parameters, such as the amounts of acetone, KOH catalyst concentration and reaction temperature on the biodiesel yield, including the flow rates of crude biodiesel passing through the ion exchange resin bed to remove soap and glycerin. The physical and chemical properties of biodiesel were determined according to biodiesel standard specifications. It was found that reaction temperature was the most important parameter. The optimum conditions were methanol to oil molar ratio of 8:1 with 24.7wt% acetone, 0.70wt% KOH catalyst, reaction temperature of 47oC and reaction time of 30 min. Furthermore, the study showed that the optimum condition for the waterless purification of initial soap content above 1,000 ppm was performed at the flow rate of 4.5 BV/h which reduced soap levels to below 50 ppm.
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