Growing environmental concern and fast depletion of conventional fossil fuel resources have induced an urgent search for alternative energy sources. In this regard, biodiesel obtained from Jatropha oil (a non-food oil), seems to be a very promising alternative. Though a lot of research is already done in catalytic transesterification, in the present work, conversion of high FFA (5.5%) bearing Jatropha oil to methyl ester was studied using synthesized KF/CaO solid catalyst. The novelty of this heterogeneous catalyst is the omission of two major steps — neutralization step in which acid is used followed by transesterification using the basic homogeneous catalyst. The catalyst KF/CaO is easily prepared from cheap chemicals and is safe for the environment. The catalyst was characterized by mean of TPD of CO2, X-ray diffraction, BET surface area (SA) analyzer. Catalytic transesterification of this oil was studied with different reaction parameters to achieve a 97% conversion. Optimization of conditions (molar ratio of methanol/oil, time, temperature and catalyst dosage) was also established. The present work makes the process not only safer to the environment but also shows the gateway for greener alternatives to the energy of high FFA oils.
Biodiesel, CaO Supported KF Catalyst, FFA, Non-Edible Oil, Optimization.