Biodiesel Production from Candlenut and Calodendrum Capense Seeds: Process Design and Technological Assessment

This project was based on biodiesel production from candlenut and calodendrum capense seeds using conventional and biotechnological technique and determination of the oil yields and biodiesel quality. The driving force for large-scale use of biodiesel has been the need to reduce the harmful emissions that result from the burning of petroleum oil as well as our dependence on diminishing reserves of petroleum oil. The aim of the study was to extract oil from Candlenut tree and Calodendrum capense seeds using conventional techniques and determine conditions for optimum oil yields. The oil from the two non-edible plant feedstocks was obtained using soxhlet solvent extraction and mechanical screw pressing machine at Kenya Industrial Research Institute (KIRDI).
The preliminary tests like the acid value, viscosity, density, iodine value and calorific value were done to ascertain the quality of the oil. Transesterification was done using methanol and potassium hydroxide as a catalyst. The use of enzyme as a catalyst in transesterification was done using lipase enzyme cultured from Lake Bogoria water. Lipase-catalyzed transesterification of candlenut oil and calodendrum capense oil using methanol for biodiesel production in amyl alcohol and t-butanol alcohol was investigated. The optimum conditions for transesterification were investigated. Infrared spectroscopy was used to ascertain the efficiency of the acid catalyzed transesterification process. Thin Layer Chromatography was also used in the case of enzymatic transesterification. The engine performance tests of B5 and B20 for both candlenut and calodendrum capense were also investigated. The engine tests parameters investigated; brake specific fuel consumption, thermal efficiency, brake horse power and exhaust temperature were compared to commercial diesel.
The oil yield for candlenut seeds varied from 32.3% to 35.4% and for calodendrum capense seeds, the oil content was 35.2%. Factors which govern transesterification process such as the quantity of the catalyst, reaction time, speed, temperature and amount of methanol used were investigated and optimum conditions determined (temperature of 65˚C, one hour reaction time, rotation speed of 1100rpm, 6:1 molar ratio of methanol to oil and optimum potassium hydroxide catalyst). For lipase enzymes catalyzed transesterification, it was observed that 6 ml of t-butanol alcohol, 6:1 molar ratio of methanol to oil, 2ml of lipase catalyst, temperature 45˚C, 150 rpm and 24hrs yielded the highest biodiesel conversion of 92.6%. Overall, the lipase catalyzed transesterification method yielded higher conversion in comparison to acid catalyzed transesterification (64.8 to 72.1%).


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