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Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2006 Spring;129-132:405-14.

Optimization of biodiesel production from castor oil.

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Laboratory of Separation Process Development (LDPS), School of Chemical Engineering, State University of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, CP 6066, CEP 13081-970.


The transesterification of castor oil with ethanol in the presence of sodium ethoxide as catalyst is an exceptional option for the Brazilian biodiesel production, because the castor nut is quite available in the country. Chemically, its oil contains about 90% of ricinoleic acid that gives to the oil some beneficial characteristics such as its alcohol solubility at 30 degrees C. The transesterification variables studied in this work were reaction temperature, catalyst concentration and alcohol oil molar ratio. Through a star configuration experimental design with central points, this study shows that it is possible to achieve the same conversion of esters carrying out the transesterification reaction with a smaller alcohol quantity, and a new methodology was developed to obtain high purity biodiesel.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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