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Title: Production of Sunflower Oil Methyl Esters by Optimized Alkali-Catalyzed Methanolysis

item Moser, Bryan
item ASHRAF, SAMIA - University Of Agriculture - Pakistan

Submitted to: Biomass and Bioenergy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/14/2008
Publication Date: 4/8/2008
Citation: Rashid, U., Anwar, F., Moser, B.R., Ashraf, S. 2008. Production of Sunflower Oil Methyl Esters by Optimized Alkali-Catalyzed Methanolysis. Biomass and Bioenergy. 32:1202-1205.

Interpretive Summary: The experimental conditions for the production of biodiesel from sunflower oil were optimized in an effort to facilitate the manufacture of sunflower oil-derived biodiesel in regions of the world where the sunflower plant readily grows. Additionally, a number of important fuel properties of sunflower oil biodiesel were measured and it was concluded that said material is essentially comparable to other more common biodiesel fuels. Therefore, sunflower oil biodiesel was deemed acceptable for combustion in compression-ignition (diesel) engines. This research benefits the vegetable oil industry by helping to open additional markets for more widespread use in the emerging alternative fuels industry. Those farmers in regions of the United States of America that grow sunflowers are most likely to benefit from the results of this work.

Technical Abstract: In the present study, biodiesel was prepared from sunflower oil by transesterification of crude oil with methanol using a variety of reaction conditions. The objectives of this work were to optimize sunflower oil methyl ester (SOME) production and to evaluate the resultant optimized methyl esters against a number of physico-chemical properties. The optimum conditions elucidated for the methanolysis of sunflower oil were found to be: 6:1 molar ratio of sunflower oil to methanol, 60 deg C reaction temperature, 1.00% (w/w) NaOH catalyst, and 600 rpm mixing intensity. Employing the aforementioned optimum conditions provided SOME in extremely high yield (97.2%) and within prescribed ASTM D 6751 and EN 14214 specifications. These results stand in contrast with previous work by others on sunflower oil conversion to methyl esters that recommend a 9:1 molar ratio, 70 deg C reaction temperature, and 0.28% KOH catalyst. A number of physico-chemical properties of SOME were measured according to ASTM methods and found to fall within prescribed ASTM D 6751 and EN 14214 specifications where applicable, such as density, specific gravity, kinematic viscosity, high heating value, cetane number, flash, combustion, cloud, pour, and cold filter plugging points, sulfur, ash, and water content, copper strip corrosion, and acid value. Biodiesel fuel derived from the transesterification of sunflower oil is acceptable for combustion in compression-ignition (diesel) engines.