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Keywords:

  • Biodiesel;
  • Esterification;
  • Free fatty acids;
  • Jatropha;
  • Kinetics

Abstract

Kinetic studies have been carried out on the esterification of free fatty acids (FFAs) in jatropha oil with methanol in the presence of sulphuric acid catalyst at 5 and 10 wt% concentrations relative to free fatty acids (0.4–0.8 wt% relative to oil) and methanol–FFA mole ratios ranging from 20:1 to 80:1. It has been found that a 60:1 methanol–FFA mole ratio and 5 wt% catalyst at 60°C and 500 rpm or above provided a final acid value lower than 1 mg KOH/g oil within 60 min. A kinetic model has been proposed with second-order kinetics for both the forward and backward reactions. The effect of temperature on the reaction rate constants and equilibrium constant has been determined using Arrhenius and von't Hoff equations, respectively. The heat of reaction was found to be −11.102 kJ/mol.