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Biodiesel Production Using Mixed Solid Catalysts

Abraham K. Temu
Published 2013 · Materials Science
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One of the disadvantages of homogeneous base catalysts in biodiesel production is that they cannot be reused or regenerated because they are consumed in the reaction. Besides, homogeneous catalysed process is not environmentally friendly because a lot of waste water is produced in the separation step. Unlike homogeneous, heterogeneous catalysts are environmentally benign, can be reused and regenerated, and could be operated in continuous processes, thus providing a promising option for biodiesel production. This paper presents catalytic activity of single and mixed solid catalysts in production of biodiesel from palm oil using methanol as well as ethanol at atmospheric pressure. The catalysts used are CaO, K2CO3, Al2O3, and CaO/K2CO3, CaO/Al2O3, K2CO3/Al2O3 mixtures. Results show that methanol is a better reactant with biodiesel yield ranging from 48 to 96.5% while ethanol gives yields ranging from 20 to 95.2%. The yield data for single catalysts range from 20 to 89.2% while that for mixed catalysts range from 52 to 96.5% indicating improvement in the activity by mixing the catalysts. The study also shows that biodiesel yield increases with catalyst loading which emphasizes the need for sufficient number of active sites. The properties of biodiesel produced compares well with ASTM D6751 and EN 14124 biodiesel standards.
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