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Upgrading bio-heavy oil via esterification of fatty acids and glycerol

Kim, Jung-Hun, Jung, Jong-Min, Cho, Seong-Heon, Tsang, Yiu Fai, Wang, Chi-Hwa, Lee, Jechan, Kwon, Eilhann E.
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.217 pp. 633-638
acid value, biodiesel, catalysts, esterification, fatty acids, feedstocks, fuel production, glycerol, niobium, oils, power generation, triacylglycerols, tungsten oxide, wastes
Bio-heavy oil (BHO), a crude mixture of fatty acids (FAs) and mono-, di-, and triglycerides unavoidably generated as waste during biodiesel production processes, is an alternative replacement of petro-heavy oil as a fuel for power generation. It is reported for the first time that upgrading the quality of raw BHO (lowering the acid value (AV) of BHO) can be achieved via a low-pressure non-catalytic esterification process. Esterification of the FAs contained in raw BHO on solid acid catalysts (tungsten trioxide and niobium pentoxide) were investigated by comparison with the non-catalytic method. The AV of raw BHO can be successfully reduced from 116 to ∼38 in 2 h under a low pressure (0.1 bar) via the non-catalytic esterification process. Catalytic esterification with Nb2O5 or WO3 showed similar performance to the non-catalytic esterification. It can be suggested a possibility to make a high-quality renewable fuel (e.g., BHO with a low acid value) for power generation from inexpensive feedstock.