An industrial grade acidic crude palm oil (ACPO) pre-treatment process was carried out using ethanesulfonic acid (ESA) as a catalyst in the esterification reaction. ESA was used in different dosages to reduce free fatty acid (FFA) to a minimum level for the second stage of biodiesel production via alkaline transesterification reaction. Different process operating conditions were optimized such as ESA dosage (0.25-3.5% wt/wt), methanol to ACPO molar ratio (1:1-20:1), reaction temperature (40-70°C), and reaction time (3-150. min). This study revealed the potential use of abundant quantities of ACPO from oil palm mills for biodiesel production. The lab scale results showed the effectiveness of the pre-treatment process using ESA catalyst. Three consecutive catalyst recycling runs were achieved without significant degradation in its performance. Second and third reuse runs needed more reaction time to achieve the target level of FFA content. Esterification and transesterification using ESA and KOH respectively is proposed for biodiesel industrial scale production. The produced biodiesel meets the international standards specifications for biodiesel fuel (EN 14214 and ASTM D6751).
- Acidic crude palm oil
- Ethanesulfonic acid
- Free fatty acid
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Waste Management and Disposal