Innovative Process for Continuous Esterification of Cottonseed Oil for Synthesis of Biodiesel

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Due to the predicted shortness of conventional fuels and environmental concerns, a search for alternative fuels has gained recent significant attention. Biodiesel is well known as the replacement for the traditional mineral diesel fuel . It is characterized by excellent properties as diesel engine fuels and thus can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Besides, it also affects a decrease in emissions of SOx, CO, unburnt hydrocarbons and particulate matter during the combustion process when compared with fossil fuels. The techno-economic analysis of biodiesel production has indicated that cost of biodeisel will vary from Rs. 25.70 to Rs. 56.70 per liter with cost of oil ranging from Rs. 25/- to 55/- per Kg compared to Rs.36.5/- per liter for diesel. With further availability of cheap oils and taking into consideration the carbon credits earned due to green fuel under CDM mechanism, the biodiesel costs will further reduce and be more competitive with diesel. In the present paper an overflow system for continuous esterification of cottonseed oil using an economical process was developed using a continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR). Continuous production compared to batch production at the same condition had higher product purity. The optimum condition for the esterification process was obtained and the free fatty acid (FFA) content in the cottonseed oil were reduced by optimum esterification. The components and properties of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) could meet the standard requirements for biodiesel fuel. Eventually the production costs were calculated to disclose its commercialization.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: Technical Proceedings of the 2011 Clean Technology Conference and Trade Show
Published: June 13, 2011
Pages: 102 - 106
Industry sector: Energy & Sustainability
Topic: Biofuels & Bioproducts
ISBN: 978-1-4398-8189-7