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Bioresour Technol. 2006 Feb;97(3):379-84.

Process optimization for biodiesel production from mahua (Madhuca indica) oil using response surface methodology.

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  • 1Agricultural & Food Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur 721 302, India.


A central composite rotatable design was used to study the effect of methanol quantity, acid concentration and reaction time on the reduction of free fatty acids content of mahua oil during its pretreatment for making biodiesel. All the three variables significantly affected the acid value of the product, methanol being the most effective followed by reaction time and acid catalyst concentration. Using response surface methodology, a quadratic polynomial equation was obtained for acid value by multiple regression analysis. Verification experiments confirmed the validity of the predicted model. The optimum combinations for reducing the acid level of mahua oil to less than 1% after pretreatment was 0.32 v/v methanol-to-oil ratio, 1.24% v/v H2SO4 catalyst and 1.26 h reaction time at 60 degrees C. After the pretreatment of mahua oil, transesterification reaction was carried out with 0.25 v/v methanol-to-oil ratio (6:1 molar ratio) and 0.7% w/v KOH as an alkaline catalyst to produce biodiesel. The fuel properties of mahua biodiesel so obtained complied the requirements of both the American and European standards for biodiesel.

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