Biodiesel production from Jatropha curcas L. oil using Lemna perpusilla Torrey ash as heterogeneous catalyst.
Refined Jatropha curcas L. oil (JCO) and methanol were used as the reactants for the transesterification reactions in a Radleys reactor in the presence of a heterogeneous ash catalyst derived from the waste aquatic plant Lemna perpusilla Torrey. Physical characterization of the catalyst showed partly crystalline behaviour and a moderate surface area 9.622 m2 g-1. The L. perpusilla Torrey ashes obtained from traditional combustion method were further calcined at 550±5°C before use. In addition to other non-metal and metallic constitutes the ash contains 11.3% potassium which attributed to its catalytic behaviour. The cumulative mass fraction of 89.43% of the oil was converted to biodiesel at 65±5°C in 5 h at 1:9 M ratio of oil to alcohol with 5% of the ash as catalyst. The biodiesel (FAME) so obtained were characterized using appropriate ASTM methods and found within the defined standard limits. The catalyst could be reused upto 3-times but there is a reduction of efficacy by about 25% for 3rd consecutive batch reaction. The activation energy was calculated for FAME and found to be 29.49 kJ mol-1.