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Geothermal Sludge-Derived Calcined Sodium Silicate As Low Cost Heterogeneous

Catalyst For Biodiesel Production From Waste Cooking Oil

Reza Hendy Djoerkaeff


Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering,
Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta

Abstract

The depletion of world petroleum reserves and increased environmental concerns such
as polluting air by emissions of sulfur dioxides, carbon dioxides, particulate matter, and other
gases has resulted to increased research in alternate fuels and renewable source of energy.
Trans-esterification process used to produce biodiesel from waste cooking oil, bears a large
potential for the substitution of fossil diesel. Therefore, the employment of waste oils as
feedstock for biodiesel production are presented as the best alternative. The use of solid base
catalyst in biodiesel production is becoming preferable because of their superiority advantages
over the conventional homogeneous catalyst. Calcined sodium silicate is applied to catalyze
trans-esterification reaction of vegetables oil with methanol. A strong base catalyst of sodium
silicate synthesized from geothermal sludge of Dieng Geothermal Power Plant (Indonesia),
which has 55% of silica content by gelation method. The factors affecting the process
parameters reported are studied and the point of interest focuses on their methanol to oil ratio,
reaction temperature, and catalyst both qualitative and quantitative scope. The optimum
condition Sodium silicate catalyst was activated by calcination process at 400C, temperature
ramp of 20C/min, and 3 hours detention time. The trans-esterification was carried out at
varying temperature in the range of 50C - 70C with a methanol-oil molar ratio of 9:1 and 3%
(w/w) of catalyst for 60 minutes reaction time. To investigate kinetics of reaction, the sample
were taken consecutively during the reaction after pouring into the reactor. Experimental results
showed that the sodium silicate was very active in the trans-esterification of waste cooking oil
with methanol. Reaction temperature at 60C was sufficient to reach a conversion level as high
as above 97% in a relatively short reaction period with high quality biodiesel that proven due
to standardization test with ASTM methods. Results of the present work suggested that sodium
silicate synthesized from local resources of geothermal sludge would become potential solid
base catalyst in biodiesel synthesis.

Keywords: Geothermal sludge, calcined sodium silicate, transesterification, waste cooking


oil, Fatty Acid Methy Ester (FAME).