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Modification of FAU zeolite as an active heterogeneous catalyst for biodiesel production and theoretical considerations for kinetic modeling

Alismaeel, Ziad T, Al-Jadir, Thaer M, Albayati, Talib M, Abbas, Ammar S and Doyle, Aidan M ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5800-0412 (2022) Modification of FAU zeolite as an active heterogeneous catalyst for biodiesel production and theoretical considerations for kinetic modeling. Advanced Powder Technology, 33 (7). p. 103646. ISSN 0921-8831

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In this work, a high purity FAU-type zeolite catalyst was prepared from shale rock and modified as a heterogeneous efficient catalyst for biodiesel production from sunflower oil. The characterization properties for both of the prepared catalysts were determined using X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDAX), Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET), and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The incipient wetness impregnation method was adopted for loading the catalyst with three base precursors: NaOH, KOH, and Ca(OH)3. Different factors affecting transesterification reaction onto modified Na-K-Ca-FAU zeolite were investigated such as; temperature (35, 45, 55, and 65 °C), catalyst concentrations (2, 3,4, 5, and 6 wt%) and the molar ratio of methanol to sunflower oil (3:1, 6:1, 9:1 and 12:1). The optimum conditions of transesterification reactions were obtained for reaction time (4 h) and agitation rate (700 rpm) in a batch reactor at 65 °C reaction temperature, 5% catalyst concentration, and a 9:1 M ratio of methanol to oil. The experimental results showed that the conversion of triglyceride in sunflower oil to fatty acid methyl ester (FIME) increased from 48.62 to 91.6% when the FAU zeolite was loaded with 15 wt% of the three bases. The properties of the produced biodiesel were evaluated within the standard performance ASTM D-6751. This study shows that the three base precursors (i.e., NaOH, KOH, and Ca(OH)3) were successfully loaded onto support FAU zeolite and functioned as excellent catalysts for biodiesel production. Theoretical considerations for kinetic modeling in the heterogeneous transesterification reaction were investigated using MATLAB programming. The experimental and theoretical considerations for kinetic modeling were fitted well.

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