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Study of factors influcencing the quality and yield of biodiesel produced by transesterification of vegetable oils
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Biofuels are a developing kind of fuel whose origin is biomass. Among them, many different kind of fuels can be found: bioethanol, biobutanol, biodiesel, vegetable oils, biomethanol, pyrolysis oils, biogas, and biohydrogen. This thesis work is focused on the production of biodiesel, which can be used in diesel engines as a substitute for mineral diesel. Biodiesel is obtained from different kinds of oils, both from vegetable and animal sources. However, vegetable oils are preferred because they tend to be liquid at room temperature.

The process to obtain biodiesel implies first a reaction between the oil and an alcohol, using a catalyst and then a sedimentation, where the biodiesel and the glycerol, the two products that are obtained, can be separated because of their difference in density. After the separation, raw biodiesel is obtained and a treatment with either water bubbling or dry cleaning products is needed to obtain the product which will be ready to use.

Many methods are available for the production of biodiesel, most of them require heat for the transesterification reaction, which converts the oil into biodiesel. Apart from that, in many cases biodiesel is produced by big companies or by individuals but using complicated and expensive installations.

This work is an attempt to develop a way of producing biodiesel without any use of external heat, using a simple procedure which could be used by people with a low knowledge of chemistry or chemical processes. It also seeks to set an example on how biodiesel can be easily made by oneself without the use of any industrial systems, with a low budget and limited need of supervision over the process.

In order to achieve that, many trials were undertaken, introducing changes in the different parameters that are responsible for the changes in the final product. Among them, changes in the amount and type of catalyst, the way the catalyst is added, the type of oil used, the time of reaction and the temperature were made. Apart from that, different types of cleaning were tried, starting by water cleaning and then using powder type products, Magnesol, D-Sol and Aerogel. A centrifuge was also tried to test its utility when separating impurities from liquids or different liquid phases. The results of the different trials were analysed using various tests, the most important being the 3:27 test, the solubility test, the soap titration and pH measurements.

To sum up, it could be said that the investigation was a success, since it was proved that biodiesel can be made without the use of any external heat with both alkali and acid catalysts, as well as with different ways of adding the catalyst. As for the cleaning, good results were obtained with both dry products and water cleaning, since the soap content of the biodiesel was reduced in both cases. Apart from that, the centrifuge proved to be valid to eliminate impurities from raw oil.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , p. 70
Keywords [en]
Transesterification, vegetable oils, biodiesel
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-6934Archive number: TEX 100816OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-6934DiVA, id: diva2:325010
Presentation
2010-06-16, 11:215, 01:50 (English)
Uppsok
Technology
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Available from: 2010-06-29 Created: 2010-06-17 Last updated: 2010-06-29Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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