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UTILIZATION OF SODIUM SILICATE CATALYST

FROM GEOTHERMAL SLUDGE AS A RAW MATERIAL


FOR BIODIESEL PRODUCTION

For decades, science is striving to optimize its energy resources for the sake of human
prosperity. Further step toward modernized technology always correlated with the usage of non-
renewable hydrocarbon fuel such as fossil fuel, coal, and natural gas. History has proven that
every single exploration toward natural wealth will results environmental consequences. One
of the most perilous materials is silica mineral that were found in geothermal sludge.
Geothermal exploration problem occurs in the process of reinjection brine into the earth. Brine
contains high concentration of silica that affect to plants efficiency (pipe clogging). Therefore,
the purpose of this writing is to offer more effective solution to prevent the massive impact of
silica by converting it into catalyst for biodiesel formation. The usage of the silica derivative
starts from the production of biodiesel which reacts triglycerides and methanol. Oil trans-
esterification process commercially utilizes homogeneous base catalysts such as NaOH.
However, the utilization of the catalyst has a problem in the part of separation. Those problems
encourages to develope the utilization of heterogeneous base solid catalyst as the solution. The
solid catalyst is expected to provide good catalytic activity, high conversion in low temperature,
not corrosive, cheap, and easy to be separated from the reactant and product of reaction. Those
characteristics are fulfilled in the heterogeneous base catalyst of sodium silicate (Na2SiO3)
which is made by reacting the solution of strong base of the sodium hydroxide (NaOH) with
silica (SiO2). Silica can be found in the sludge waste of Geothermal. The Heterogeneous
catalysts can be separated easily from the product, does not require neutralization process, so
theres no required separation which wastes the water and even reduce the production costs.
Actually, the required solid catalysts (heterogeneous) in Biodiesel formation are able to prevent
the formation of soap, even if there are much of water and FFA in the raw materials. So, we
should be optimistic that the target of Indonesia in 2025 which optimizing usage of biofuels up
to 5% will be possible, especially Indonesia is country with strong enough natural resources to
produce biodiesel from CPO either waste cooking oil. Besides that we can increase the role of
biodiesel that can replace diesel (Solar) because this one is a promises clean and renewable
energy.