DOI: 10.5176/2301-3761_CCECP14.09

Authors: Y.S. Fong, C. H. Ngoo, , J. H. Sim and P. F. Lee


Depletion of fossil fuel and the increase of environmental concern had urged the search for alternative fuel sources. Biodiesel is one of the most promising substitutes that had been gaining much attention recently. The major drawback of biodiesel is the high cost of production making it non-economically viable. In the present study, biodiesel has been successfully produced from a low cost feedstock which is palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD) using three types of catalyst (Al2O3-SO3H, SiO2-SO3H and TiO2-SO3H). These catalysts were prepared by the sulfonating aluminium oxides, titanium (IV) oxides and silicon dioxides with sulphuric acid. Characterizations of these catalysts were visualized by Scanning Electron Microscope with X-ray energy dispersive spectra (EDX) and its corresponding catalytic activity on esterification of PFAD had been tested. The effects of types of catalyst and reaction time were investigated and optimized by employing response surface methodology (RSM). Among the catalysts developed, sulfonated aluminium oxide (Al2O3-SO3H) exhibited the most desired characteristic, high sulphur content (3.71 wt {6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465}). The maximum biodiesel yield of 57.49 {6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} was achieved in 5 hours of reaction time. The corresponding operating conditions for esterification process was carried out at temperature of 80 °C, 20:1 methanol to PFAD molar ratio and 2 wt{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} of catalyst. In the optimization study, the mathematical model developed was found to be fit the experimental data and adequate to predict the optimum conditions with R2 value of 0.8659. Through RSM, Al2O3-SO3H was identified as the most promising catalyst with 50.83 {6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} of biodiesel yield achieved in 2.67 hours of reaction time.

Keywords: Biodiesel, palm fatty acid distillate, esterification, sulfonation.

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