Optimization of Biodiesel Production from Castor Oil Using Response Surface Methodology
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The short supply of edible vegetable oils is the limiting factor in the progression of biodiesel technology; thus, in this study, we applied response surface methodology in order to optimize the reaction factors for biodiesel synthesis from inedible castor oil. Specifically, we evaluated the effects of multiple parameters and their reciprocal interactions using a five-level three-factor design. In a total of 20 individual experiments, we optimized the reaction temperature, oil-to-methanol molar ratio, and quantity of catalyst. Our model equation predicted that the following conditions would generate the maximum quantity of castor biodiesel (92 wt.%): a 40-min reaction at 35.5 °C, with an oil-to-methanol molar ratio of 1:8.24, and a catalyst concentration of 1.45% of KOH by weight of castor oil. Subsequent empirical analyses of the biodiesel generated under the predicted conditions showed that the model equation accurately predicted castor biodiesel yields within the tested ranges. The biodiesel produced from castor oil satisfied the relevant quality standards without regard to viscosity and cold filter plugging point.
KeywordsCastor oil Biodiesel Transesterification Optimization Response surface methodology Viscosity Alcohol solubility
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