Increased gas emissions from the production and use of petroleum products have negative impact on the environment and more specifically on the flora and fauna. This has necessitated the development of alternative cleaner petroleum substitutes such as biodiesel. In this work, an investigation was carried on a pilot scale batch distillation unit to determine operating parameters that influence the quality of a biodiesel. The parameters studied include reaction temperature, amount of catalyst and alcohol, rate of agitation and reaction time. The biodiesel was produced using the method of transesterification of methanol and sunflower oil with sodium hydroxide as a catalyst. Comparative engine tests on both petrodiesel and biodiesel were performed with a view to ascertain the comparative performance of the two fuels. Over the temperatures considered, the results showed that the transesterification of sunflower oil produced a marked decrease in viscosity and density to a level comparable to those of the petrodiesel. This gave an indication that the biodiesel could be as good as petroleum diesel. Tested on hurricane lumps and pressure stove, it was shown that the biodiesel burned for longer time compared to kerosene and this can be attributed to its low volatility and high calorific value. On blending with kerosene, its capillarity action improved substantially and, on burning, emissions were unnoticed. From the analysis carried out on biodiesel production from sunflower oilseeds, there are indications that the project looks economically viable because the major raw material is readily available at an affordable cost.
|Journal||African Journal of Technology|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|