The production of biodiesel from waste cooking oil

This article was about biodiesel production from waste cooking oil. The article provides convincing benefits about the use of biodiesel and it discusses the process behind converting waste cooking oil into biodiesel. First of all, biodiesel is biodegradable and non-toxic. Also, compared to petroleum- based diesel, biodiesel has a more desirable combustion emission profile. Furthermore, the use of biodiesel can decrease the greenhouse emissions because the carbon dioxide produced by combustion of biodiesel can be recycled by photosynthesis. Biodiesel is also less volatile and safer to transport because of its high flash point. Finally, in regards to how the engine performs with biodiesel, the alternative fuel source lubricates the engine; thus, reducing engine wear and extending engine life.  

Transesterfication is the most common way of producing biodiesel. It can be carried out vie an alkali-catalyzed reaction, acid-catalyzed reaction or an enzyme- catalyzed reaction. Triglycerides are the main component of vegetable oil. Triglycerides are made up of three long fatty acids chains esterfied to a glycerol backbone. When the vegetable oil reacts with methanol, glycerol is produced as a by-product. The article mentions that it is cheaper to use waste cooking oil instead of virgin oil and using waste cooking oil could help to solve the problem of waste oil disposal.

Most productions of biodiesel use the alkali-catalyzed reaction. The article provides details from four different processes of producing biodiesel. They found that the alkali- catalyzed process using virgin oil was the simplest with the least amount of process equipment, however, but had a higher raw material cost, because they used virgin oil instead of waste cooking oil.

The article goes into depth about each process and also provides limitations to the alkali-catalyzed process. One limitation is its sensitivity to the purity of reactants. Apparently, the alkali-catalyzed process is very sensitive to both water and free fatty acids.

Finally, this article provided more reliable facts about the benefits and processes of producing biodiesel. However, in regards to my project, this article focuses on producing biodiesel at a much higher rate than what I hope to do at Ohio Wesleyan with our waste cooking oil.


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