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Microwave-assisted Transesterification of Soybean and Rice Bran Oil to Biodiesel

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009067.(doi:10.13031/2013.29799)
Authors:   Dorin Boldor, Akanksha Kanitkar, Pranjali Muley, Sundar Balasubramanian, Marybeth Lima, Cristina M Sabliov
Keywords:   transesterification, microwaves, biodiesel, ethanol, methanol, soybean and rice bran oil.

Microwave-assisted transesterification of oils offers the advantages of shorter reaction times, a lower alcohol/oil ratio, reduced catalyst consumption and an energy efficient operation. The purpose of this study was to optimize transesterification parameters for a batch microwave system using refined soybean and rice bran oil in the presence of two different alcohols namely methanol (predominantly used) and ethanol (safer alternative). Sodium hydroxide at <0.2% (by weight of oil) concentration was the catalyst of choice. Molar methanol and ethanol to oil ratio was maintained at 5:1 and 9:1, respectively. Reactions were carried at temperatures of 60, 70 and 80C for times ranging between 5-20 min. The results show that conversions of >95% were achieved under all experimental conditions tested. Experimental results concluded that methanol was more suitable solvent than ethanol for biodiesel production. The biodiesel thus obtained was analyzed using various ASTM standards to determine if it met the required standards.

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