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Heterogeneously Catalyzed Esterification of FFAs in Vegetable Oils

S. Pasias, N. Barakos, C. Alexopoulos, N. Papayannakos

Abstract

The production of methyl esters (biodiesel) from free fatty acids (FFAs) contained in vegetable oils was studied using a heterogeneous acid catalyst. The feedstock was a by-product of a vegetable oil refinery. The experiments were performed in a batch reactor, in a temperature range of 363.15–393.15 K, with an initial molar ratio of methanol to FFAs of 6.6/1, while the catalyst mass was fixed at 2 wt % of the total vegetable oil mass. A technical kinetic model has been developed which accounts for the reversible esterification reaction. Kinetic parameters were determined by fitting experimental data to the model.

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