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Study of Some Parameters in the Biodiesel Production from Jatropha Oil Using Base Catalyzed Transesterification

 Rex B. Demafelis1, Butch G. Bataller1, Rafael Ray Adrian L. Cortado1, Benjie P. Villacorte1, Laura J. Pham2, Emmanuel D. Revellame1, Victor A. Rodulfo Jr3, and Myra G. Borines1



A parametric study on biodiesel production using methanol and ethanol as reacting alcohols and sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide as base catalysts was done to evaluate the effect of varying the amount of catalyst and alcohol on the alkyl ester production by transesterification. The results were expressed as volumetric yield and verified by Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) which determined the acyl-glycerol profile of the biodiesel produced. The results showed that the biodiesel crude volumetric yield increases at increasing oil to alcohol and oil to catalyst ratio but only until a certain point. Once the optimum oil to alcohol to catalyst molar ratio was reached, additional alcohol and catalyst remained only as unreacted excess. At increasing oil to catalyst molar ratio, increasing soap production was also observed but not for all combinations. Based on the TLC chromatograms, the amount of alkyl ester increases at increasing reaction time. 75 minutes was chosen as the optimum reaction time using 1:8:0.2 oil to methanol to NaOH molar ratio which produced 98.03% methyl ester at ambient temperature. While 75 minutes was chosen as the reaction time for 1:8:0.5 oil to methanol to KOH molar ratio at ambient temperature which produced 98.23% methyl ester. 1:8:0.2 oil to ethanol to KOH molar ratio produced 98.06% ethyl ester after 3.5 hours.

Keywords: Jatropha curcas, methyl ester, ethyl ester, base catalyzed transesterification, thin layer chromatography

1Chemical Engineering Department, College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology, UPLB, College, Laguna; 2Fats and Oils Laboratory, National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, UPLB, College, Laguna; 3Engineer IV, Agricultural Mechanization Development Program, Institute of Agricultural Engineering, College of Engineering & Agro-Industrial Technology, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines.