Inderscience Publishers

Biodiesel production from high FFA crude rice bran oil and investigation on its properties as CI engine fuel

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This study is an attempt to convert high free fatty acid (FFA) crude rice bran oil (CRBO) into biodiesel and to evaluate whether the biodiesel obtained meets the biodiesel quality standards prescribed by ASTM D 6751-07b. CRBO was subjected to a two-step transesterification process using HCl and NaOH as acid and base catalyst respectively with a 15% v/v of methanol to oil ratio. This process yields crude rice bran oil methyl ester (CRBME) with an ester conversion efficiency of 60%. As the feedstock is high FFA CRBO it will contain more impurities than that of refined oils and they were removed along with the byproduct which reduced the ester conversion efficiency. It was observed that the properties like flash point, viscosity, calorific value, specific gravity, acid number and cetane number were within the prescribed limits of ASTM standard. The distillation curve of the CRBME is almost straight line and an end point temperature of 345°C was obtained during the distillation of CRBME which is less than the maximum limit prescribed in the ASTM standard. Based on these experimental results it is concluded that high FFA CRBO is a potential non-edible vegetable oil for biodiesel production. [Received: March 16, 2009; Accepted: July 22, 2009]

Keywords: crude rice bran oil, CRBO, free fatty acids, FFA, methyl ester, transesterification, biodiesel, acid esterification, biofuels, biodiesel quality standards, ASTM standards, flash point, viscosity, calorific value, specific gravity, acid number, cetane number, distillation curve, end point temperature

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