Kinetics of palm kernel oil and ethanol transesterification

Ahiekpor, Julius C.; Kuwornoo, David K.
September 2010
International Journal of Energy & Environment;2010, Issue 6, p1097
Academic Journal
Biodiesel, an alternative diesel fuel made from renewable sources such as vegetable oils and animal fats, has been identified by government to play a key role in the socio-economic development of Ghana. The utilization of biodiesel is expected to be about 10% of the total liquid fuel mix of the country by the year 2020. Despite this great potential and the numerous sources from which biodiesel could be developed in Ghana, there are no available data on the kinetics and mechanisms of transesterification of local vegetable oils. The need for local production of biodiesel necessitates that the mechanism and kinetics of the process is well understood, since the properties of the biodiesel depends on the type of oil use for the transesterification process. The objective of this work is to evaluate the appropriate kinetics mechanism and to find out the reaction rate constants for palm kernel oil transesterification with ethanol when KOH was used as a catalyst. In this present work, 16 biodiesel samples were prepared at specified times based on reported optimal conditions and the samples analysed by gas chromatography. The experimental mass fractions were calibrated and fitted to mathematical models of different proposed mechanisms in previous works. The rate data fitted well to second-order kinetics without shunt mechanism. It was also observed that, although transesterification reaction of crude palm kernel oil is a reversible reaction, the reaction rate constants indicated that the forward reactions were the most prominent.


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