OPTIMIZATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF SYNTHESIZED BIODIESEL PRODUCED FROM REFINED PALM KERNEL OIL
In this study, response surface methodology (RSM) was used to study the transesterification reaction of refined palm kernel oil for biodiesel production. The three main factors that drive the conversion of triglycerides into fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) were studied according to a full factorial design at two levels. These factors were catalyst (NaOH) concentration, temperature and reaction time. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the significance of the factors and their interactions which primarily affect the first of the two transesterification sets. The effect of reaction parameters (molar ratio, catalyst weight and reaction time) was studied using RSM while the reaction temperature was kept constant at 60oC. Optimum methyl ester yields 93% was obtained at oil to methanol molar ratio of 1:3(0.33), a catalyst load of 2.3g and reaction time of 140 minutes. The optimum methyl ester was characterized for fuel properties and the results obtained ascertain the eligibility of palm kernel oil methyl ester for use in diesel engines since they were within the acceptable standards set by American Society of Testing and Material (ASTM D 6751). And also, the study showed a good agreement with the experimental results, demonstrating that this methodology may be useful for industrial process optimization.