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Open Access Research

Direct production of biodiesel from high-acid value Jatropha oil with solid acid catalyst derived from lignin

Fei-ling Pua1, Zhen Fang2*, Sarani Zakaria1*, Feng Guo2 and Chin-hua Chia1

Author Affiliations

1 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, School of Applied Physics, Faculty of Science and Technology, 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

2 Chinese Academy of Sciences, Biomass Group, Laboratory of Tropical Plant Resource Science, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, 88 Xuefulu, Kunming, Yunnan Province 650223, China

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Biotechnology for Biofuels 2011, 4:56  doi:10.1186/1754-6834-4-56

Published: 7 December 2011

Abstract

Background

Solid acid catalyst was prepared from Kraft lignin by chemical activation with phosphoric acid, pyrolysis and sulfuric acid. This catalyst had high acid density as characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), energy-dispersive x-ray spectrometry (EDX) and Brunauer, Emmett, and Teller (BET) method analyses. It was further used to catalyze the esterification of oleic acid and one-step conversion of non-pretreated Jatropha oil to biodiesel. The effects of catalyst loading, reaction temperature and oil-to-methanol molar ratio, on the catalytic activity of the esterification were investigated.

Results

The highest catalytic activity was achieved with a 96.1% esterification rate, and the catalyst can be reused three times with little deactivation under optimized conditions. Biodiesel production from Jatropha oil was studied under such conditions. It was found that 96.3% biodiesel yield from non-pretreated Jatropha oil with high-acid value (12.7 mg KOH/g) could be achieved.

Conclusions

The catalyst can be easily separated for reuse. This single-step process could be a potential route for biodiesel production from high-acid value oil by simplifying the procedure and reducing costs.

Keywords:
biodiesel; Kraft lignin; Jatropha oil; solid acid catalyst