• Vol 9, No 2 (2018)
  • Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Engineering

Optimization of Biodiesel Production using a Stirred Packed-bed Reactor

Farid Nasir Ani, Nur Hamzah Said, Mohd Farid Muhamad Said

Cite this article as:
Ani, F.N., Said, N.H., Said, M.F.M., 2018. Optimization of Biodiesel Production using a Stirred Packed-bed Reactor. International Journal of Technology. Volume 9(2), pp. 219-228
Farid Nasir Ani Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor DT , Malaysia
Nur Hamzah Said Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Mohd Farid Muhamad Said Universiti Teknologi Malyasia
Email to Corresponding Author


The use of waste cooking oil (WCO) as feedstock and in microwave heating technology helps to reduce the cost of biodiesel. In this study, a continuous flow transesterification of waste cooking oil (WCO) by microwave irradiation for biodiesel production using calcium oxide (CaO) as aheterogeneous catalyst, calcined from cockle shells, is used. The catalyst was packed inside a plastic perforated container mounted on a stirrer shaft and inserted inside the reactor. The thermocouple inside the reactor was connected to a temperature controller and microwave power input to maintain the temperature. Response surface methodology (RSM) was employed to study the relationships between power input, stirrer speed and liquid hourly space velocity (LHSV) on the WCO methyl ester (WCOME) conversion at a fixed molar ratio of methanol to oil of 9 and a reaction temperature set at 65oC. The experiments were developed using the Box-Behnken design (BBD) for optimum conditions. The transesterification of the WCO was produced at 72.5% maximum WCOME conversion at an optimum power input of 445 W, stirrer speed of 380 rpm and LHSV of 71.5 h-1. The energy consumption in a steady state condition was 0.594 kWh for the production of 1 litre WCOME, for this heterogeneous catalyst is much faster than conventional heating.

Box-Behnken design; Calcium oxide; Microwave; Optimization; Waste cooking oil


The application of the continuous flow transesterification of WCO using microwave technology with a perforated plastic container for the solid catalyst on the stirrer could be used to convert WCO to biodiesel. The effects of variables such as power input, stirrer speed and LHSV on the heterogeneous transesterification reaction are very significant. The results obtained clearly show that the RSM-based BBD is a valuable tool that can be used to establish the relationships between the process factors and the responses, with a minimum number of experiments, in a very efficient way. Furthermore, the RSM-based BBD can be used to determine the recommended optimum conditions for the production of biodiesel.


The authors are grateful to the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) Malaysia and Research University Grant, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Vot 4L653 for their financial support, and the Research Management Centre, UTM for management support. The first author would like to thank the Governor of South Sulawesi, Indonesia for the scholarship obtained to continue his education at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.


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