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National Conference on Green Engineering and Technologies for Sustainable Future-2014

Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences ISSN: 0974-2115

Hydrodynamic cavitation for the production of biodiesel from sunflower oil using NaOH


M. Rengasamy, E. Titus Praveen Kumar, T. Satheesh , D.Venkadesh, K.Kumaraguru* Department of Petrochemical Technology, Anna University (BIT Campus), Trichy-620024 *Corresponding author: ABSTRACT

Energy is an utmost necessity for mankind and the diminution of the non-renewable energy sources is a prodigious environmental threat. Biodiesel is one of the encouraging and promising alternate to the petroleum based energy sources. In this study, hydrodynamic cavitation is employed for the transformation of sunflower oil to biodiesel using NaOH catalysts. Cavitation is found experimentally that it substantiates greatly in the production of free radicals that favors the reaction rate and increases catalyst activity. The trans-esterification of sunflower oil to biodiesel is studied under varying parameters such as oil to methanol ratio, catalyst load and contact time to investigate the performance of the cavitation technique in production of biodiesel.

Keywords: biodiesel, catalyst, hydrodynamic cavitation, alternate fuel


Increased depletion of petroleum based fossil fuels and the increasing environmental threats there is an increased demand for the production of alternate energy sources. Biodiesel is a hopeful alternate to the non-renewable petroleum based reserves. Biodiesel is an eco-friendly and a clean burning fuel. Biodiesel is obtained from any vegetable matter and is completely clean fuel. It is free from sulfur emissions and reduces other emissions such as carbon monoxide, THP and PM emissions. Numerous available feed stocks in the production of biodiesel, easy adaptability towards any engine and its degradability moves it to the top among the alternate fuels. Several methods are developed in the production of biodiesel from many feed stocks such as vegetable oils, animal fats, plastics, and waste cooking oils and so on. The most commonly used method for the production of biodiesel is by the trans-esterification of vegetable oils and animal fats using an alcohol in the presence of acid or base catalysts. Sunflower oil is non-edible oil and found abundantly in tropical areas. Sunflower oil is extracted from sunflower plants that can even grow in places near drought.

Cavitation technique is energy efficient and a profound method for the production of biodiesel that utilizes minimal amount of energy requirements. Cavitation greatly initiates the production of free radicals, increases generation of local hot spots and more importantly generation of turbulence that favors intensive action for both homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions. Hydrodynamic cavitation is largely employed in lot of industrial process like crystallization, water and effluent treatment, biotechnology, solid liquid extraction and textile industries. Orifice plates are utilized to produce hydrodynamic cavitation, where the cavitation is generated by altering flow conditions and are subjected to turbulent pressure field oscillations which proves to be more energy efficient than the regular methods. In case of orifice plates, the generations of cavity collapse conditions are similar to acoustic cavitation but at the expense of much lower energy. It is reported that more than 70 % yield can be obtained by trans-esterification of oil using a hydrodynamic cavitation reactor.

Experimental setup: The experiment has been carried in batch wise and the schematic diagram of experimental setup is shown in Fig. 1. The reactor consists of a cylindrical reservoir tank with 10 liter capacity, connected to a pump. The discharge pipe from the pump splits into main and bypass pipes. The main pipe passes through the orifice plates and the bypass circulates to the reservoir tank. The sample port is connected next to the orifice for sampling. The exit from the orifice is driven back into the collecting tank. The oil is preheated to 40oC for decreasing the viscosity of oil.

Figure. 1. Schematic diagram of reactor

Where v1, v2 and v3 are the control valves, p1 and p2 are the pressure gauges attached to the centrifugal pump and at the sample port respectively.

Orifice plates: Two different types of orifices are made in carbon steel plate to carry out the experiment namely plate A and plate B. Plate A consists of 2 mm orifice dia and 24 holes and Plate B consists of of 3mm orifice dia and 21 holes.

Chemicals: Oil is purchased from local oil shop. NaOH and ethanol are purchased from MERCK. The catalyst load is varied in range of 0.5g, 1g, 1.5g. The methanol to oil molar ratio and the varying proportions of methanol and oil are tabulated in Table. 1.

JCHPS Special Issue 4: December 2014 Page 104

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