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The use of sulfated tin oxide as solid superacid catalyst for heterogeneous transesterification of Jatropha curcas oil

Gerald Kafuku, Keat Teong Lee, and Makame Mbarawa

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X680, 0001 Pretoria, South Africa



Abstract: This work presents the use of sulfated tin oxide enhanced with SiO2 (SO42−/SnO2-SiO2) as a superacid solid catalyst to produce methyl esters from Jatropha curcas oil. The study was conducted using the design of experiment (DoE), specifically a response surface methodology based on a threevariable central composite design (CCD) with α = 2. The reaction parameters in the parametric study were: reaction temperature (60°C to 180°C), reaction period (1 h to 3 h), and methanol to oil mole ratio (1: 6 to 1: 24). Production of the esters was conducted using an autoclave nitrogen pressurized reactor equipped with a thermocouple and a magnetic stirrer. The maximum methyl esters yield of 97 mass % was obtained at the reaction conditions: temperature of 180°C, reaction period of 2 h, and methanol to oil mole ratio of 1: 15. The catalyst amount and agitation speed were fixed to 3 mass % and 350–360 min−1, respectively. Properties of the methyl esters obtained fell within the recommended biodiesel standards such as ASTM D6751 (ASTM, 2003).

Keywords: Jatropha curcas - transesterification - solid catalyst - biodiesel

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-010-0063-1


Chemical Papers 64 (6) 734–740 (2010)

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