Jean Baptiste Nduwayezu, Theoneste Ishimwe, Ananie Niyibizi, Alexis Munyentwali. Biodiesel Production from Unrefined Palm Oil on Pilot Plant Scale. International Journal of Sustainable and Green Energy. Vol. 4, No. 1, 2015, pp. 11-21. doi: 10.11648/j.ijrse.20150401.13
Abstract:As global warming and climate change issues are defying modern society sustainable development; biofuels, biodiesel included, are among promising solutions. Biodiesel is generally produced from renewable vegetable oils and animal fats via acid or base catalyzed transesterification. Depending on regional availability, biodiesel production feedstocks vary from vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil, soya oil, palm oil, and jatropha oil, to used cooking oil and animal fats, with each type of feedstock presenting its own process challenges rooting from its chemical composition. This paper reports about biodiesel production from crude palm oil on a pilot plant scale, subsequent to a laboratory scale investigation of biodiesel synthesis from various vegetable oil feedstocks. Prior to transesterification, pretreatment processes have been applied due to the fact that crude palm oil as a biodiesel feedstock possesses a high free fatty acid (FFA) content, water, solid impurities and waxes, all of which hinder an efficient transesterification if not dealt with accordingly. Those processes are mainly filtering, water evaporation, and FFA esterification which is done with 99.9% methanol and 96% sulfuric acid as a catalyst. In fact, the acid esterification process successfully handles the raw palm oil despite its high FFA content of 16.9%, and biodiesel is produced from that feedstock with a yield of 90.4%. A two steps transesterification is carried out using potassium methylate 32% in methanol as a catalyst and anhydrous methanol too. Laboratory analyses have also been used to monitor the process and assess the final product quality. Furthermore, biodiesel cold filtering and top layer intake tank systems of a filling station, both proved to be efficient at helping to obtain a refined product by getting rid of suspensions appearing in biodiesel at room temperature due to sterol glucosides and waxes.
There is a strong need in the USA to decrease dependency on fossil fuels and implement a sustainable energy policy. Many efforts are underway to power vehicles and equipment with alternative energy sources. One alternative fuel that has gained much popularity in the past few years is biodiesel. Biodiesel can be produced using virgin vegetable oil or waste vegetable oil (WVO) as the raw material. WVO is readily available and typically inexpensive; however the process to convert WVO into usable biodiesel is time consuming, requires a human operator to run the system, and necessitates a human to perform a chemical titration for each batch of biodiesel produced. Due to these requirements, a typical biodiesel processor requires much operator interaction which has not yet been eliminated by existing ―automated‖ systems.
Groups of senior design students were engaged in the design, production, and testing of an automated biodiesel processor. The source of the WVO for this project is the university’s food services and other nearby businesses. By converting this WVO to fuel for power generation, the overall waste generated by the campus will be reduced and have a positive environmental impact. The output of the process is certifiable B100 biodiesel.
In the first phase of this project, the processor was designed and built by the students utilizing a programmable logic controller (PLC) in conjunction with pumps, valves, temperature sensors, etc., to completely handle the production of biodiesel with minimum operator interaction. The system eliminates the need for the titration process, circulates the fluid thorough the system, and upon completion of a full cycle, the end user is presented with a certified biodiesel. This paper presents the first phase of this project and demonstrates the design and process used to automate biodiesel production using a PLC and how the chemical titration procedure for each batch is eliminated.
It has the same problems every no titration base/base procedure has.
Originally posted by RickDaTech: The Tennessee Technology University publishes on automating a biodiesel processor...
Elimination of the Titration Process To eliminate this procedure, a certain volume of WVO, a given volume of CH_3OH (methanol) and a given weight of NaOH (lye) are combined to produce sodium methoxide which will be used for the transesterification reaction.
: To obtain the needed amounts, a 25% the oil volume of methanol was used, and for : lye 6.25 grams/liter of oil was used. : First, the oil is reheated between 118o - 126°F (120°F is optimum) and : 75% of the sodium methoxide is added. : In the second stage, the remaining 25% of sodium methoxide was added...
"Prepare your methoxide this way: : mix 25% (by volume of WVO) of pure methanol : and (6.25g/litre of WVO) of sodium lye (NaOH) : Heat the WVO to 48-52 deg C (118-126 deg F) : Add 3/4 of the prepared methoxide : For second stage Add the remaining 1/4 methoxide.
Who Can see the similarity?
The Tennessee instructions next say:
Then, it is also common practice to test the pH of the resulting biodiesel, and add an acid, such as vinegar, as necessary to balance the biodiesel’s pH level (4).
Alex Kac also advises to add vinegar to the wash to lower the pH of the biodiesel.
Adding Vinegar to biodiesel has not been routinely recommended for many years
And they did not even acknowledge Aleks Kac or JtF
PS I also find the following claim from the Tennessee site very unlikely: "If fully reacted using 6.7 gallons of methanol and a potassium hydroxide catalyst, 55 gallons of UVO will produce 4.3 gallons ofglycerin and 57 gallons of pure biodiesel".