Producing Biodiesel Fuel from Vernicia montana Lour. Oil

(De Gruyter) – Biodiesel fuels are fatty acid esters that are combusted for use in engines or heating. Biodiesel fules are produced from vegetable oils or animal fats by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol.

Unfortunately the production of biodiesels fuels (BDFs) can be costly and environmentally damaging. Costs associated with the production of BDFs are directly affected by the nature of the feedstock material and its other uses (e.g. edible feedstocks). Land managment must also be taken into account as some BDFs such as palm and soy oil production could result in deforestation.

A green production of BDFs would therefore require miminum processing of a non-edible oil.

The authors evaluated the use of the non-edible oil derived from Vernicia montana Lour found in Laos and Vietnam for the production of BDF and develop an improved procedure its production consisting of 80.3%±0.5% α-eleostearic acid moiety (C18:3) using a co-solvent method.

The stability of the BDF was evaluated based on its iodine value and unsaturated ester content.

Optimized production conditions were determined to be as follows:

  • methanol/oil molar ratio of 6:1
  • 1% (wt/wt) KOH
  • 20% (wt/wt) acetone as a co-solvent
  • reaction temperature of 40°C

Under the above conditions, BDF conversion efficiency was determined to be 99%±0.3% within 30 minutes of initiating the transesterification process.

Good stability in air at temperatures ≤30°C for 1 month was observed. This is similar to BDFs produced from rapeseed oil.

The authors found that the application of the co-solvent method to the production of BDF led to a reduction in the amount of energy consumed. These BDF satisfied the EN 14214/JIS K2390 quality criteria regarding its FAME, water, MG, DG, TG, free glycerol, and total glycerol contents, as well as its acid value and density.

Although indicative of a potentially energy efficient product, the authors admit a need for further testing of the shelf life to compare with current BDFs on the market.

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Edited for Content and Length by Dr. Matthew A. Hood.

The  full article can be found at De Gruyter in the journal of Green Processing and Synthesis.

DOI: 10.1515/gps-2016-0215

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