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Continuous Low Cost Transesterification Process for the Production of Coconut Biodiesel

  • kumar, gajendra
  • kumar, d.
  • singh, shailandra
  • kothari, s.
  • bhatt, sumit
  • singh, chandra p.
Publication Date
Jan 15, 2010
DOI: 10.3390/en3010043
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Biodiesel, or alkyl ester, is an alternative renewable, biodegradable, and non-toxic diesel fuel produced by the catalytic transesterification of vegetable oil. Here we characterize a system for continuous transesterification of vegetable oil using five continuous stirring tank reactors (5CSTRs). We tested residence times of 16–43min, stirring speeds of 200–800rpm, a catalyst concentration (KOH) of 0.25–1 wt% of oil (in gram), different total flow rates of the oil and MeOH, and on the production performance of the 5 stage continuous reactor for transesterification of vegetable oil. Using a molar ratio of oil:methanol of 1:7 and a reaction temperature of 65 °C, we show that a high stirring speed increased the reaction rate, but an excessive stir speed decreased the reaction rate and conversion to biodiesel. Furthermore, a higher catalyst percentage significantly increased the reaction rate and production capacity. A catalyst percentage of 1 wt% of oil gave the best conversion / 99.04 ± 0.05%. The resulting biodiesel esters were characterized for their physical and fuel properties including density, viscosity, iodine volume, acid volume, cloud point, pure point, gross heat of combustion, and volatility. The purity and conversion of the biodiesel was analyzed by HPLC.

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