Conversion of vegetable oil to biodiesel using immobilized Candida antarctica lipase
Biodiesel derived from vegetable oils has drawn considerable attention with increasing environmental consciousness. We attempted continuous methanolysis of vegetable oil by an enzymatic process. Immobilized Candida antarctica lipase was found to be the most effective for the methanolysis among lipases tested. The enzyme was inactivated by shaking in a mixture containing more than 1.5 molar equivalents of methanol against the oil. To fully convert the oil to its corresponding methyl esters, at least 3 molar equivalents of methanol are needed. Thus, the reaction was conducted by adding methanol stepwise to avoid lipase inactivation. The first step of the reaction was conducted at 30°C for 10 h in a mixture of oil/methanol (1:1, mol/mol) and 4% immobilized lipase with shaking at 130 oscillations/min. After more than 95% methanol was consumed in ester formation, a second molar equivalent of methanol was added and the reaction continued for 14 h. The third molar equivalent of methanol was finally added and the reaction continued for 24 h (total reaction time, 48 h). This three-step process converted 98.4% of the oil to its corresponding methyl esters. To investigate the stability of the lipase, the three-step methanolysis process was repeated by transferring the immobilized lipase to a fresh substrate mixture. As a result, more than 95% of the ester conversion was maintained even after 50 cycles of the reaction (100 d).
Key wordsBiodiesel Candida antarctica lipase immobilized enzyme methanolysis vegetable oil
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