Biodiesel Production from Sunflower Oil Using K2CO3 Impregnated Kaolin Novel Solid Base Catalyst
Kaolin clay material was loaded with potassium carbonate by impregnation method as a novel effective and economical heterogeneous catalyst for biodiesel production of sunflower oil via the transesterification reaction. The structural and chemical properties of the produced catalysts were analyzed by several characterization tests including the BET-BJH, XRD, SEM and FTIR. Influence of the K2CO3 impregnation level was examined by comparing the catalytic activity of different produced catalysts. To expand the efficiency of transesterification reaction, parameters of reaction were optimized including; the molar ratio between methanol and oil, concentration of catalyst, and duration of the reaction. The highest yield of biodiesel over the K2CO3/kaolin catalyst was around 95.3 ± 1.2%. It was achieved using kaolin supports impregnated with 20 wt.% of K2CO3. The optimum reaction conditions were found to be catalyst reactor loading of 5 wt.%, reaction temperature of 65 °C, methanol: oil molar ratio of 6:1 and reaction duration time of 4 h.