Microwave Assisted Glycerolysis Of Neem Oil


Isabela Celina del Mundo(1*), John Michael Cavarlez(2), Anna Monica Pe(3), Susan Roces(4)

(1) Chemical Engineering Department, De La Salle University Manila, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila Philippines 1004
(2) Chemical Engineering Department, De La Salle University Manila, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila Philippines 1004
(3) Chemical Engineering Department, De La Salle University Manila, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila Philippines 1004
(4) Chemical Engineering Department, De La Salle University Manila, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila Philippines 1004
(*) Corresponding Author


Biodiesel is considered as a viable alternative to diesel fuels since it is renewable and eco-friendly. Edible oils account for majority of feedstock oils used in biodiesel production since their free fatty acids (FFA) levels are below 1%. However, these oils are expensive and compete with food demand. Low cost feedstock oils may be used but they must undergo a pre-treatment process (glycerolysis) to reduce their FFA content to less than 1%. Conventional glycerolysis requires long reaction times so microwave irradiation is used to speed up the process. Neem oil with an initial %FFA of 1.138% was used to determine the effect of microwave irradiation on different factors that would affect the FFA reduction. The following factors are investigated: reaction time (5 and 9 minutes), reaction temperature (100°C and 120°C), oil to glycerol molar ratio (1:1 and 1:2) and sulfuric acid catalyst concentration or loading (2% and 4.5%). This study reports that reaction temperature was the only significant factor on FFA reduction. A higher temperature resulted in a higher FFA reduction. The optimum factors achieved are: oil to glycerol molar ratio of 1:1, a catalyst loading of 2%, a time of 5.58 minutes and a reaction temperature of 120°C resulting in a 91.81% FFA reduction


Microwave-irradiation, esterification, glycerolysis, neem oil

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/ajche.49543

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