Optimization of transesterification Process in the production of Biodiesel from Pungam (Pongamia Glabra) Oil

Lakshmi Narayana Rao G, Devasagayam G, Balasubramaniam T V, Sampath S, Rajagopal K


Biodiesel is found to be the ideal replacement for petroleum diesel among the alternative fuels. Bio-diesel is a clean burning fuel, produced from renewable resources (vegetable oils both edible and non-edible). It can be used in CI engines as a substitute for diesel oil with least modifications. It is completely miscible with diesel oil and it can be blended with diesel oil in any proportion. It is non-toxic and devoid of sulphur. It is obtained by the transesterification of vegetable oil. In the present investigation, Pungam (Pongamia Glabra) oil was taken up as the raw material. The most important process variables affecting the yield of the process are the percentage of excess alcohol required above the stochiometric requirement, the amount of catalyst used in the reaction and the temperature maintained during the reaction process. In this work, a parametric analysis was done to determine the optimum conditions, which would result in maximum yield of esters. These conditions in turn can be applied for mass production. From this analysis, it wasconcluded that the optimized conditions are 6:1 molar ratio of methanol to Pungam oil, 1.92 weight percent of volumeof Pungam oil as catalyst (KOH) and 550C reaction temperature.


Biodiesel, catalyst, methyl esters, molar ratio, Reaction temperature, Transesterification.

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