Microwave Assisted Energy Efficient Biodiesel Production from Crude Pongamia pinnata (L.) Oil Using Homogeneous Catalyst

Kumar, Ritesh;Sethy, A.K.

  • Received : 2013.11.07
  • Accepted : 2015.01.24
  • Published : 2015.02.28


Microwave assisted biodiesel production from crude Pongamia pinnata oil using homogeneous base catalyst (KOH) was unsuccessful because of considerable soap formation. Therefore, a two step process of biodiesel production from high free fatty acid (FFA) oil was investigated. In first step, crude P. pinnata oil was acid catalyzed using $H_2SO_4$ and acid value of oil was reduced to less than 4 mg KOH/g. Effect of sulfuric acid concentration, alcohol-oil molar ratio and microwave irradiation time on acid value of oil was studied. Result suggested that 1.5% $H_2SO_4$ (w/w), 6:1 methanol oil molar ratio and 3 min microwave irradiation time was sufficient to reduce the acid value of oil from 12 and 22 mg KOH/g to 2.9 and 3.9 mg/KOH/g, respectively. Oil obtained after pretreatment was subsequently used for microwave assisted alkali catalyzed transesterification. A higher biodiesel yield (99.0%) was achieved by adopting two step processes. Microwave energy efficiency during alkali catalyzed transesterification was also investigated. The results suggested a significant energy saving because of reduced reaction time under microwave heating.


microwave;pongamia pinnata;biodiesel;acid value;energy efficiency


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