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Ultrason Sonochem. 2013 May;20(3):833-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ultsonch.2012.11.003. Epub 2012 Nov 16.

Non-edible babassu oil as a new source for energy production-a feasibility transesterification survey assisted by ultrasound.

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School of Engineering of Lorena, University of São Paulo, P.O. Box 116-12602-810, Lorena, São Paulo, Brazil.


Ethyl esters of babassu oil were synthesized by alkaline catalysis to make the green production of biodiesel feasible with simple methods and available technology. Babassu oil is a transparent, light yellow oil extracted from the seeds of the babassu palm (Orbinya sp), and due to its high saturated fatty acid composition (83%), it is considered a non-inedible oil. Transesterification using ethanol represents a valid alternative to using methanol because of ethanol's lower toxicity and the higher yield on weight compared to methanol. Statistical methodology was applied to optimize the transesterification reaction, which was promoted by ultrasonic waves and mechanical agitation. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to quantify the conversion attained. Alkaline transesterification assisted by ultrasound produced the best results with respect to reaction time and the phase separation step. The model obtained showed that conversions higher than 97% may be achieved in 10min with correct tuning of the process variables.

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