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USE OF COAL FLY ASH AS A CATALYST IN THE PRODUCTION OF BIODIESEL

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Author(s): Omotola Babajide | Leslie Petrik | Nicholas Musyoka | Bamikole Amigun | Farouk Ameer

Journal: Petroleum and Coal
ISSN 1337-7027

Volume: 52;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 261;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Fly ash | Heterogeneous catalyst | Sunflower oil | Transesterification | Methyl ester.

ABSTRACT
South Africa is largely dependent on the combustion of coal for electricity production; Eskom’s coalfiredpower stations consume approximately 109 million tons of coal per annum, producing around 25million tons of ash, to supply the bulk (93%) of South Africa’s electricity. The management of this flyash has been a concern with various approaches for its beneficial use being investigated. This workpresents the results of transesterification reaction using sunflower oil as feedstock with methanol andclass F fly ash catalyst derived from a coal fly ash dump in South Africa to produce methyl esters (biodiesel).The fly ash based catalyst was prepared using the wet impregnation procedure with different loadingsof potassium. This was characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), FTIR spectroscopy. The XRDpatterns obtained indicated that the structure of the support gradually deformed with an increase inthe loading and the extent of decomposition of KNO3 varied with the amount of loading. The influenceof various reactions parameters such as loading amount of active components, methanol: oil ratio, reactiontime, temperature and catalyst deactivation was investigated. The fly ash based catalyst loaded with5% wt KNO3 at a reaction temperature of 160ºC exhibited maximum oil conversion (86.13%). Thebiodiesel synthesized was tested and important fuel properties of the methyl esters (Biodiesel) comparedwell with ASTM biodiesel standard.
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