There is growing interest in biodiesel (fatty acid methyl ester or FAME) because of the similarity in its properties when compared to those of diesel fuels. Diesel engines operated on biodiesel have lower emissions of carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, particulate matter, and air toxics than when operated on petroleum-based diesel fuel. Production of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) from rapeseed (non edible oil) fatty acid distillate having high free fatty acids (FFA) was investigated in this work. Conditions for transesterification process of rapeseed oil were 1.8 % H2SO4 as catalyst, MeOH/oil of molar ratio 2:0.1 and reaction temperature 65 °C, for a period of 3h. The yield of methyl ester was > 90 % in 1h.
Biodiesel is becoming widely available in most parts of the U.S. and can be substituted for petroleum-based diesel fuel (“petro diesel”) in virtually any standard unmodified diesel engine. Biodiesel offers many advantages over petroleum-based diesel:
- It is made from domestically produced and renewable agricultural products, mainly vegetable oil or animal fat.
- It is essentially non-toxic and biodegradable.
- It has a high flash point (over 300ºF) and is difficult to light on fire with a match.
- It reduces emissions of many toxic air pollutants.
- It functions as an excellent fuel lubricant and performs similarly to low-sulfur diesel with regards to power, torque, and fuel consumption.
- It can greatly reduce carbon emissions.