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Journal of Advanced Research (2010) xxx, xxx–xxx

Cairo University

Journal of Advanced Research

Production of biodiesel using the microwave technique
Shakinaz A. El Sherbiny, Ahmed A. Refaat, Shakinaz T. El Sheltawy ∗
Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, Egypt
Received 30 October 2009; receivedin revised form 28 January 2010; accepted 8 March 2010

KEYWORDS Microwave; Biodiesel; Transesterification; Non-edible oil

Abstract Biodiesel production is worthy of continued study and optimization of production procedures because of its environmentally beneficial attributes and its renewable nature. Non-edible vegetable oils such as Jatropha oil, produced by seed-bearing shrubs, can providean alternative and do not have competing food uses. However, these oils are characterized by their high free fatty acid contents. Using the conventional transesterification technique for the production of biodiesel is well established. In this study an alternative energy stimulant, “microwave irradiation”, was used for the production of the alternative energy source, biodiesel. The optimumparametric conditions obtained from the conventional technique were applied using microwave irradiation in order to compare the systems. The study showed that the application of radio frequency microwave energy offers a fast, easy route to this valuable biofuel with the advantages of enhancing the reaction rate (2 min instead of 150 min) and of improving the separation process. The methodology allowsfor the use of high free fatty acid content feedstock, including Jatropha oil. However, this emerging technology needs to be further investigated for possible scale-up for industrial application. © 2010 Cairo University. All rights reserved.

Introduction Biodiesel has many merits as a renewable energy resource including being derived from a renewable domestic resource, thereby relieving relianceon petroleum fuel, and being biodegradable and non-toxic. Further, compared to petroleum-based diesel, biodiesel has a more favorable combustion emission profile, such as low emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter and unburned hydrocarbons [1]. Fuels derived from vegetable oils, due to their agricultural ori∗

Corresponding author. Tel.: +20 10 6044605. E-mail (S.T. El Sheltawy).

2090-1232 © 2010 Cairo University. Production and hosting by Elsevier. All rights reserved. Peer review under responsibility of Cairo University.

Production and hosting by Elsevier

gin, are able to reduce net CO2 emissions to the atmosphere along with import substitution of petroleum products [2]. They present a very promising alternative to diesel oil sincethey are renewable and have similar properties [3]. The use of non-edible vegetable oils compared to edible oils is very significant because of the tremendous demand for edible oils as food. Moreover, edible oils are far too expensive to be used as fuel at present [4]. The interest in using Jatropha curcas as a feedstock for the production of biodiesel is rapidly growing. The properties of the cropand its oil have persuaded investors, policy makers and clean development mechanism (CDM) project developers to consider Jatropha as a substitute for fossil fuels to tackle the challenges of energy supply and GHG emission reduction [5]. The oil produced by this crop can be easily converted to liquid biofuel that meets the American and European standards [6]. Additionally, the press cake can beused as a fertilizer and the organic waste products can be digested to produce biogas (CH4 ) [5]. The plant itself is believed to prevent and control soil erosion or can be used as a living fence or to reclaim wasteland [7].


Please cite this article in press as: El Sherbiny SA, et al. Production of biodiesel using the microwave technique. J Adv Res (2010),...
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