Conversion of feedstocks with high free fatty acid content into biodiesel, using bifunctional heterogeneous catalyst
In this study, feedstocks with high free fatty acid content such as rubber seed oil and waste vegetable fat were converted into biodiesel through esterification and trans-esterification using bi-functional heterogeneous catalysts of the calcium containing silicate type. The catalysts were prepared by co-condensation method with precursors such as tetraethylorthosilicate TEOS and calcium oxide in an alkaline environment. There were two types of the as-synthesised catalysts: calcium silicate (CS) and mesoporous calcium silicate (MCS). The preparation of MCS was similar to that of CS but using a template (CTAB-cetyltrimethylammonium bromide) for mesoporous structure formation. The co-condensations were carried out at 90oC for 24 hours; then calcination took place at 650oC with CS and 550oC with MCS to get the highest activity. Rubber seed oil (acid number of 64) and vegetable oil deodoriser distillate (acid number of 160) were converted into biodiesel in a high pressure reactor with optimum conditions: 120oC, 3 hours, volume ratio of methanol/feedstock of 2/1, and agitating speed of 400 rpm. The reaction yield was above 92%, and several fuel characteristics were determined.
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