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Biodiesel Production from Unused and Waste Vegetable Oil
1. To determine acid value of the waste vegetable oil
2. To calculate the amount of NaOH needed for transesterification of waste vegetable oil.
3. To produce biodiesel from unused and waste vegetable oil by base-catalyzed
transesterification process.

Waste vegetable oil tends to have more amount of free fatty acid molecule, so, it will consume
more sodium hydroxide in transesterification process compare to the unused vegetable oil.

Biodiesel is an alternative fuel similar to conventional or ‘fossil’ diesel. Biodiesel can be
produced from straight vegetable oil, animal oil/fats, tallow and waste cooking oil. Today’s
experiment, we are prepared biodiesel from vegetable oil and waste vegetable oil. Some of the
most environmentally friendly biodiesel feed stocks are used cooking oil or waste grease.
Vegetables oils, especially palm oil have become more attractive research recently because of
their environmental benefits and the fact that it is made from renewable resources. Palm oils
have the great potential for substitution of the petroleum distillates and petroleum based
petrochemicals in the future. Others vegetable oil fuels are not now petroleum competitive fuels
because they are more expensive than petroleum fuels (Demirbas, 2003).
However, with the recent increase in petroleum prices and the uncertainties concerning
petroleum availability, there is renewed interest in using vegetable oils in diesel engines. The
diesel boiling range material is of particular interest because it has been shown to reduce
particulate emissions significantly relative to petroleum diesel (Giannelos, Zannikos, Stournas,
Lois, and Anastopoulos, 2002). There are more than 350 oil bearing crops identified, among
which only palm oil, sunflower, safflower, soybean, cottonseed, rapeseed and peanut oils are
considered as potential alternative fuels for diesel engines (Geoing, Schwab, Daugherty, Pryde,
and Heakin, 1982).
Eventhough, the vegetable fuel is more expensive than the petroleum fuel. The waste
cooking oil can be used to produce the biodiesel because it is cheap if we compared to unused
vegetable oil. Malaysia as a developing country with a population of 29,179,950 surely have
been used a thousand tons of cooking oil every year. Then our government should start a
campaign to recycle back the waste cooking oil in order to produce biodiesel rather than
discharge it and finally cause environmental pollution (Farha, 2008)
The process used to convert these oils to biodiesel is called transesterification.
Transesterification is a reversible reaction in which one ester is converted into another (as by
interchange of ester groups with an alcohol in the presence of a base). Vegetable oils like animal
fats consist of triglycerides, that is, an ester of the trivalent alcohol glycerol with three fatty acids
each. Replacing the glycerol with methanol transforms the viscons oil into a fuel with excellent
properties that we called biodiesel. In addition to biodiesel, the main product, transesterification
also yields glycerol as a by-product. In other words, we can say that the transesterification
process is the reaction of a triglyceride (fat/oil) with an alcohol to form esters and glycerol. A
triglyceride has a glycerine molecule as its base with three long chain fatty acids attached. The
characteristics of the fat are determined by the nature of the fatty acids attached to the glycerine.
The nature of the fatty acids can in turn affect the characteristics of the biodiesel. During the
esterification process, the triglyceride is reacted with alcohol in the presence of a catalyst,
usually a strong alkaline like sodium hydroxide. The alcohol reacts with the fatty acids to form
the mono-alkyl ester, or biodiesel and crude glycerol. The general reaction of the reaction as
shown below:

In the transesterification reaction, the product of the reaction is influenced to the presence
of free fatty acids. As we know, biodiesel refers to a diesel-equivalent, processed fuel derived
from biological sources (such as vegetable oils), which can be used in unmodified diesel-engined
vehicles. It is thus distinguished from the straight vegetable oils (VO) or waste vegetable oils
(WVO) used as fuels in some modified diesel vehicles. In this experiments, we can say that
waste vegetable oil have longer or higher fatty acids compared to unused vegetable oil due to the
degradation during cooking process. This factor will caused the transesterification reaction
become slow or stop. During the experiment, Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) act as catalyst to
neutralize the fatty acid in the oil. In the experiment, titration by using Sodium Hydroxide
(NaOH) and phenolphthalein as the indicator is used to determine the amount of free fatty acid in
waste vegetable oil (WVO) and vegetable oil (VO). The solution will change color from
colorless into pink that show all the free fatty acid had been neutralized.

In recent years, biodiesel has become more attractive as an alternative fuel to replace petroleum
fuel for diesel engines because its eco friendly and from renewable nature for example plant and
animal fats. From the experiment, we can conclude that waste cooking oil has many fatty acids
compared to unused cooking oil based on the amount of sodium hydroxide used in the
experiment part 1. This shown that our hypothesis is true and transferication reaction is a main
process to produce biodiesel.

1. Why it is necessary to wash and purify the crude biodiesel prior to using it as fuel?

The washing and purifying the crude biodiesel is a process to remove the production of
some unwanted residues and impurities that automatically left in the crude biodiesel. As
mentioned earlier, after the reaction, separation of the glycerol and ester, the biodiesel still has
high levels of soaps (glycerol), and other impurities that must be removed via a wash process.
The longest standing method for purification is the wet or water washes method. It is a process
where a certain percentage of water is added to the crude biodiesel and the water is left to
settle. As the water passes through the fuel, it attaches to impurities. An air wash or bubble
wash is sometimes paired with this process to accelerate the water passing through the fuel.

2. Do you observe any product of side reaction at the end of transesterification of used
vegetable oil? If any, what are the side reaction and the unwanted product?

Yes, there was the side reaction occur during the transesterification process. Some glycerol
is form in which it can later be used for the production of soap. Below is the process of

 Or Triglyceride (VO)+ Methanol Glycerol + 3 molecules metyl ester
 Or ROO-R’ + R’’-OH R’OO-R’’ + R-OH

An ester will react with alcohol molecule where it catalyst by NaOH to produce biodiesel
molecule and unwanted product glycerol.

3. In your opinion, is it practical to carry out transesterification of waste vegetable oil?
Does utilization of waste vegetable oil save or add more cost in biodiesel production
compare to unused vegetable oil?

Before the experiment, we were thought that, it was good to reuse the waste vegetable oil
in making the biodiesel. Later on, after running this experiment, it was not so practical to carry
out transesterification on waste vegetable oil. This is because, waste vegetable oil contain more
free fatty acids compare to the unused one. So that, more sodium hydroxides need to be used
for washing and purify process in order to produce the biodiesel product. It will consume more
cost on buying the sodium hydroxide if we tend to produce biodiesel in larger scale if we use
waste vegetable oil as the raw material. As the conclusion, if any companies try to make a
biodiesel, we recommend they to use unused vegetable oil as their raw.