WFU Biofuels

Wake Forest students, faculty, staff and associates making and testing vegetable-oil based fuels.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

UPDATE: Sugar Catalyzed Reaction

We already know the feed stock oil requires 8 to 9g/L of NaOH when used as is. But after pretreatment with the sugar catalyst I regarded it as virgin oil. I used 3.5g/L of NaOH and 25% by volume MeOH. I heated to 65 C for 3 hours under nitrogen. I also used a reflux condenser to stop MeOH loss. I separated the glycerin off and washed three times with dilute HCl. Then a final water wash. I did not see a lot of emulsion unless I used distilled water??? The washed product was heated to 60 C and allowed to cool overnight. The FAME was transparent and light amber in color. I performed a GC analysis and it passed the GC test. So at least on a small scale (10 g oil) the pre-treatment shows promise. I suspose how well this works for a range of FFA levels as well as how scale effects matters remains to be seen.

Now that classes are over I want to try making a few more acid and base heterogeneous catalysis.