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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Biodiesel Production by the Direct Alkaline Transesterification of Lipid Bearing Materials

Authors
item Haas, Michael
item Wagner, Karen
item Foglia, Thomas
item Marmer, William

Submitted to: World Congress International Society for Fat Research
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2005
Publication Date: September 25, 2005
Citation: Haas, M.J., Scott, K.M., Foglia, T.A., Marmer, W.N. 2005. Biodiesel production by the direct alkaline transesterification of lipid bearing materials. World Congress International Society for Fat Research. p. 90-91.

Technical Abstract: Biodiesel is most often synthesized by the reaction of a refined vegetable oil with methanol containing a catalyst, generally metallic sodium or sodium hydroxide. The resulting fatty acid methyl ester product, however, is typically unable to compete on an economic basis with petroleum-derived diesel fuel. Through the development of alternate processes for the synthesis of biodiesel, the economic competitiveness of biodiesel might be improved. We describe here a new approach to biodiesel production. In this method, termed 'in situ transesterification', an oil-bearing feedstock is directly exposed to alkaline methanol, without previous isolation of the lipid to be converted into biodiesel. Thus, the cost of lipid extraction is eliminated. This approach was found to result in the synthesis of simple fatty methyl esters. We have optimized the reaction as it applies to soybeans. The resulting fatty acid ester preparation met the ASTM specifications for biodiesel. An economic model for an industrial scale facility producing biodiesel by this method was created, allowing estimation of the cost of biodiesel production. This model highlighted the need for, and type of, process modifications to decrease the predicted production cost. Lipid-bearing materials other than soybeans also are suitable substrates for in situ transesterification, and the application of this method to distillers dried grains with solubles, to corn germ, to canola, and to meat & bone meal will be discussed.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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