At present, the use of other sources of energy other than energy source from crude oil has accelerated. This is due to limited resources of fossil fuel, increasing prices of crude oil and environmental concerns. Alternative fuels such as Biodiesel are becoming more important because it can serve as a replacement for petroleum diesel due to its comparable fuel properties and cleaner emission. For use in a standard diesel engine, biodiesel can be blended (mixed) with petroleum diesel at any concentration. In this study, transesterification of palm oil with methanol was catalyzed by heterogeneous catalyst TiO2-supported-MgO and the biodiesel produced was characterised. Palm oil was used because it is regarded as one of the cheapest feedstock for biodiesel production in that most oils from oil crops are used as food. Palm oil is available in vast amounts each day in every restaurants and fast food outlets worldwide. The palm oil used in this study was laboratory prepared by the addition of 5 wt. % of oleic acid into 95 wt. % of soybeans oil.10 wt. % of titanium-supported-magnesium oxide catalyst (MgO/TiO2) used was prepared by incipient wetness impregnation and characterized using XRF, BET and XRD. These materials were tested with the catalyst for the conversion of waste vegetable oil to biodiesel in presence of methanol and hexane co-solvent. Methanol to oil mole ratio of 18:1 was employed in the transesterification process. When hexane was used as cosolvent, methanol to oil mole ratio of 18:1 and methanol to hexane mole ratio of 1:1 was used. The effects of reaction time, reaction temperature and hexane co-solvent on the waste vegetable oil conversion has been established. The 1HNMR analysis was used to estimate the structure of FAME produced. It was observed that the oil conversion increases with the increased reaction time, reaction temperature and use of hexane as co-solvent.

• Introduction
• Background and Motivation
Energy security and environmental concern across the globe have prompted regulatory bodies and law makers to demand for alternative energy. Bio-diesel has been considered as a good alternative source of energy. To have a fuel that fulfills all the energy security needs and environmental benefits is the greatest driving force for the use of biodiesel and its blends. Biodiesel was introduced in South Africa before the World War II to power heavy duty vehicles. The commercial development of biodiesel was initiated in South Africa in 1979 when Sunflower oil was transesterified and refined to a standard similar to petroleum diesel fuel (Sani et al., 2013). The discovery of fossil fuel as cheap, safe and efficient sources of energy discouraged the usage of biodiesel. However, recent domestic, environmental and economic concerns have prompted resurgence in the use of biodiesel throughout the world. Biodiesel is an engine fuel derived from animal fats, vegetable fats and/or micro algae. Biodiesel fuel is processed and refined from raw materials with high oil content. Biodiesel can be used either as a replacement for petroleum diesel or blended (mixed) with petroleum diesel at any concentration for use in a standard diesel engine. Diesel engines were originally designed to run on straight vegetable oil (SVO) but, during the 20th century, petroleum diesel fuel became more readily available and economical as a fuel source for diesel engines. The published engineering literature strongly indicates that SVO has technical issues which reduce engine life (Dahiya, 2014). High fuel viscosity of SVO at normal operating temperatures can cause premature wear of fuel pumps and injectors. It can also dramatically alter the structure of the fuel spray coming out of the injectors to increase droplet size; decrease spray angle and increase spray penetration (Anjaneya, 2014).

Biodiesel can be produced through transestrification - a process that combines vegetables oils with alcohol (methanol or ethanol) in the presence of sodium hydroxide catalyst to yield fatty ester (a biodiesel) and a byproduct of glycerin. The term biodiesel refers to 100 percent pure fuel (B100) that meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) requirements for biodiesel fuel in its D 6751 standard (National biodiesel board, 1996). Proven substitutes for biodiesel production are edible vegetable oils such as olive oil, palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil etc. Most of these oils are in high demand by the food industry for human consumption. This therefore presents a major obstacle in the commercialization of biodiesel from edible oils. Non edible oils such as palm oil is less expensive and can be used as an alternative to edible vegetable oil. It can therefore be said that palm oil, which is otherwise wasted, is one of the most economical choices to produce biodiesel thus benefiting the environment. Chhetri et al., (2008) reported that the Energy Information Administration in the United States estimated that some 100 million gallons of palm oil is produced per day in USA while the UK produces over 200,000 tons of palm oil per year. The volatility of the Biodiesels industry has created reason for farmers in the agricultural sector to consider producing “On-farm energy”. Farmers are starting to realize that producing biodiesel on the farm has the potential to help farmers become more independent by developing a more stable and secure fuel supply, as well as benefit the environment and prolong equipment life. It is therefore imperative to investigate and characterize the optimum conditions for the production of biodiesel from palm oil which is the focus of this study. However, global industrialization requires high energy and this causes pollution due to widespread usage of fossil fuels. To avoid pollution and make our environment green, it is necessary that we develop renewable energy sources that will be environmentally friendly and readily available. This will also make our economy very competitive. Biodiesel is defined by ASTM D6751 as a fuel composed of mono-alkyl esters of long-chain fatty acids derived from renewable vegetable oils or animal fats designated B100 and meeting the requirements of ASTM D6751 (Hansen, 2008).

Biodiesel is found to have good environmental, qualitative and economic benefits. Solasa et al., (2013) reported that in 2000, biodiesel became the only alternative fuel to have successfully completed the EPA-required Tier I and Tier II health effects testing under the Clean Air Act. These independent tests conclusively demonstrated biodiesel’s significant reduction of virtually all regulated emissions, and showed biodiesel does not pose a threat to human health. He went further to report that biodiesel contains virtually no sulphur or aromatics and the use of biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine results in substantial reduction of un-burnt hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter (that is a reduction in greenhouse gases). Moreover, biodiesel has a positive energy balance. For every unit of energy needed to produce a gallon of biodiesel, at least 4.5 units of energy are gained. It has an inherent lubricity, low toxicity, derivation from a renewable and domestic feedstock, superior flash point, and biodegradability, as well as an overall reduction in most regulated exhaust emissions (Moser, 2008). Qualitatively, biodiesel has been standardized and registered as a fuel and fuel additives. The standard ensures that only high-quality biodiesel reaches the marketplace. The two most important fuel standards are ASTM D6751 (ASTM 2008a) in the United States and EN 14214 (European Committee for Standardization, CEN) in the European Union (Tomes et al., 2011). The increasing synthesis of biodiesel from green energy source is a big motivation for the industry. Biodiesel industry contributes significantly to the domestic economy by delivering green jobs and national competitiveness to the economy.

• Research Problems/Questions
This study is set to answer the following questions:
• What are the best conditions for the production of biodiesel from palm oil?
• Can the biodiesel produced from palm oil be characterized by 1HNMR analysis?

• Aim and Objectives
The aim of this study was to produce biodiesel from waste soybean oil. This aim was expected to be achieved through the following objectives:

• Preparation and optimization of titanium-supported-magnesium oxide catalyst to catalyze palm oil transesterification to biodiesel.
• Investigate the operating conditions such as effect of time, temperature, hexane cosolvent and alcohol to oil mole ratio that will achieve the highest activity, highest life time and good resistance to reaction medium.
• Study the effect of magnesium oxide catalyst on Titanium support for the optimum production of biodiesel from palm oil.
• Characterize the quality of the biodiesel produced using 1H NMR analysis
• Scope of the Research and Limitations

This study is within the scope listed below:
• Preparation of the calcined support titanium (IV) oxide (TiO2)
• Impregnation of the active Magnesium nitrate on the titanium support to yield the catalyst (MgO/TiO2).
• Characterisation of the catalyst produced.
• Catalytic testing to yield fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) at 1 hour reaction time.
• Characterization of the biodiesel produced using HNMR analysis.

• Structure of the Study
The background, motivation, aims and objectives with scope and expected contribution to knowledge of the study are presented in Chapter one. This is followed by relevant literature review in Chapter two which explains why biodiesel production is now of major global interest. Also traditional biodiesel processes, reasons for the use of solid magnesium oxide catalyst and supported titania catalyst are also outlined in this chapter. Research design and methodology which describe a logical sequence of operations for detailed experimental analyses are presented in chapter three. Experimental results and discussion of this study are reported in chapter four while conclusions emanating from the analyses of the experimental results and recommendations for further studies are presented in chapter five.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 111 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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