, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 403-409
Date: 14 Nov 2012

Metakaolinite as a catalyst for biodiesel production from waste cooking oil

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The use of metakaolinite as a catalyst in the transesterification reaction of waste cooking oil with methanol to obtain fatty acid methyl esters (biodiesel) was studied. Kaolinite was thermally activated by dehydroxylation to obtain the metakaolinite phase. Metakaolinite samples were characterized using X-ray diffraction, N2 adsorption-desorption, simultaneous thermogravimetric analyse/differential scanning calorimetry (TGA/DSC) experiments on the thermal decomposition of kaolinite and Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR) analysis. Parameters related to the transesterification reaction, including temperature, time, the amount of catalyst and the molar ratio of waste cooking oil to methanol, were also investigated. The transesterification reaction produced biodiesel in a maximum yield of 95% under the following conditions: metakaolinite, 5 wt-% (relative to oil); molar ratio of oil to methanol, 1:23; reaction temperature, 160°C; reaction time, 4 h. After eight consecutive reaction cycles, the metakaolinite can be recovered and reused after being washed and dried. The biodiesel thus obtained exhibited a viscosity of 5.4 mm2·s−1 and a density of 900.1 kg·m−3. The results showed that metakaolinite is a prominent, inexpensive, reusable and thermally stable catalyst for the transesterification of waste cooking oil.