Biodiesel from Plant Resources—Sustainable Solution to Ever Increasing Fuel Oil Demands

DOI: 10.4236/jsbs.2013.33023   PDF   HTML     3,435 Downloads   6,579 Views   Citations

Abstract

The demand for fuel oil is ever increasing with the advance of the modern world, whereas worldwide reserves of fossil oils are diminishing at an alarming rate. However, there exist large stockpiles of vegetable oil feedstocks that could be exploited to produce fuel oil, called biodiesel with the aid of biotechnology. Initially, the biodiesel produced from vegetable oil did not attract much attention because of its high cost. However, the recent increase in petroleum prices and the uncertainties of petroleum availability led to the renewal of interest in biodiesel production from such sustainable resources (i.e., vegetable oil feedstocks). This research focuses on the production of biodiesel from plant resources, and further investigates the influences of key process parameters, such as the molar ratio of methanol to oil, catalyst concentration, reaction temperature, reaction period and stirring speed on the biodiesel yield. This investigation is to determine the optimum process parameters for maximum biodiesel yield. The biodiesel was produced from three vegetable oil feedstocks, namely palm, soybean and sunflower oil via a transesterification process. It was observed that all the process parameters significantly influenced the biodiesel yield. The maximum biodiesel yields for palm, sunflower and soybean oil feedstocks were found to be 87.5%, 83.6% and 80.2%, respectively at optimum condition. The results suggest that through proper optimization of the process parameters the biodiesel yields could be maximized. In conclusion, the production of biodiesel from plant resources would be regarded as a sustainable solution to the ever increasing demand of fuel oils.

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Hoque, M. and Gee, L. (2013) Biodiesel from Plant Resources—Sustainable Solution to Ever Increasing Fuel Oil Demands. Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems, 3, 163-170. doi: 10.4236/jsbs.2013.33023.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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