No 2 (2017): Resource-Efficient Technologies

Synthesis of a reusable novel catalyst ( β-tricalcium phosphate) for biodiesel production from a common Indian tribal feedstock

In recent times, the rate of energy consumption goes on increasing and the world is desperately searching
for new sources of fuel. Biodiesel (fatty acid methyl esters) is an alternative renewable energy resource
for the next generation. Biodiesel has several advantages which include its non-toxic nature, it
is biodegradable and it reduces greenhouse gas emissions. β-Tricalcium phosphate ( β-Ca 3 (PO 4 ) 2 ) catalyst
was synthesized from fish waste. Fish waste contains calcium phosphate which is converted into
β-tricalcium phosphate since it has low crystallinity and hydroxyl (OH) groups which decrease the potential
to be a good catalyst for the synthesis of biodiesel through transesterification. This paper explores
the synthesis of biodiesel using β-tricalcium phosphate ( β-Ca 3 (PO 4 ) 2 ) as a heterogeneous catalyst.
Pongamia pinnata (Karanja) oil was extracted from seeds through the solvent extraction process. Intended
for the development of easier transesterification process, stable and active heterogeneous β-tricalcium
phosphate ( β-Ca 3 (PO 4 ) 2 ) catalyst was synthesized and used for the P. pinnata (Karanja) oil transesterification
process. The synthesized heterogeneous catalyst was characterized by XRD, FT-IR, SEM and EDX to
determine its structural and morphological characteristics. The catalyst exhibited good catalytic activity
on reuse. Biodiesel yield was greatly dependent on operating parameters such as catalyst concentration,
methanol to oil molar ratio, reaction temperature and reaction time. Effect of co-solvent on biodiesel was
studied by using different co-solvents in transestrification reactions. High quality and maximum biodiesel
yield (97 %) was obtained under the optimized reaction conditions (methanol to oil molar ratio, 10:1
(tetrahydrofuran (THF):methanol 1:1); reaction time 90 min; catalyst concentration 2.5 wt % and stirrer
speed 650 rpm at 65 °C). Reusability of catalyst was examined up to five runs and found the catalyst was
reusable up to five times without much loss of catalytic activity.


β-Tricalcium phosphate, Fish waste, Optimization, P. pinnata, Catalyst-reuse, Transesterification


Yogesh Chandra Sharma

Devarapaga Madhu

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