, Volume 84, Issue 10, pp 963-970
Date: 23 Aug 2007

The General Applicability of in Situ Transesterification for the Production of Fatty Acid Esters from a Variety of Feedstocks

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Abstract

We previously described a method for fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) production wherein acylglycerol transesterification was achieved by reacting flaked full fat soybeans with alkaline methanol to create a product that met ASTM specifications for biodiesel. In the present work we explore the general applicability of this approach, termed in situ transesterification, to feedstocks other than soybeans. Materials investigated were distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), which is a co-product of the production of ethanol from corn, and meat and bone meal (MBM), a product of animal rendering. For both feedstocks, reaction conditions giving maximum lipid transesterification were predicted by statistical experimental design and response surface regression analysis, and then verified experimentally. Successful transesterification was achieved at ambient pressure and 35 °C. For DDGS, partial drying markedly reduced the methanol requirement to achieve a high degree (91.1% of maximum theoretical) of transesterification. Elevated reaction temperatures (to 55 °C was explored) caused little or no shortening of the time to completion. Protein was not removed from the DDGS during this treatment. For MBM, drying was not required to achieve a high degree (93.3%) of transesterification. The remaining meal retained approximately 90% of the protein originally present. Coupled with the previous work with soybeans, the data presented here indicate that in situ transesterification is generally applicable to lipid-bearing materials, which could substantially increase the supply of biodiesel.

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