PHYSICOCHEMICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF DELONOX REGIA OIL AND HETEROGENEOUS CATALYST SYNTHESIS FROM THE HUSK FOR BIODIESEL PRODUCTION USING RESPONSE SURFACE METHODOLOGY (RSM) DESIGN APPROACH
This study investigated the synthesis of heterogeneous catalyst using Delonix regia husk for biodiesel production from its seed oil. This was with a view to developing renewable fuel from cheap under-utilized raw material. The extracted Delonix regia seed oil (DRSO) was characterized for its physicochemical properties and fatty acid composition. The heterogeneous catalyst was synthesized via impregnation process. The husk and the synthesized catalyst were characterized for their morphology, elemental composition and functional groups. Two-step transesterification method was used to convert the oil into biodiesel. The effect of the catalyst on conversion of DRSO into biodiesel was carried out before optimization study. The KOH to carbonized char (CC) ratio at where the maximum biodiesel yield was attained was used for the optimization study. The kinematic viscosity and acid value of the oil were 51.22 m2/S and 19.08 at 25oC respectively. The optimum values were statistically predicted as methanol-oil ratio of 18:1, reaction time of 90 min, reaction temperature of 60oC and KOH to CC ratio of 3:1 at a catalyst loading of 9% w/w with biodiesel yield of 88.06%.
From the results it can be concluded that Delonix regia could serve as a potential source of cheap raw material for heterogeneous catalyst synthesis for biodiesel production.