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Title: Final Technical Report on Development of an Economic and Efficient Biodiesel production Process (NC)

The Biofuels Team at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and North Carolina A&T State University carried out a joint research project aimed at developing an efficient process to produce biodiesel. In this project, the team developed and tested various types of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts which could replace the conventionally used soluble potassium hydroxide catalyst which, traditionally, must be separated and disposed of at the end of the process. As a result of this screening, the homogeneous catalyst choline hydroxide was identified as a potential replacement for the traditional catalyst used in this process, potassium hydroxide, due to its decreased corrosiveness and toxicity. A large number of heterogeneous catalysts were produced and tested in order to determine the scaffold, ion type and ion concentration which would produce optimum yield of biodiesel. The catalyst with 12% calcium on Zeolite β was identified as being highly effective and optimal reaction conditions were identified. Furthermore, a packed bed reactor utilizing this type of catalyst was designed, constructed and tested in order to further optimize the process. An economic analysis of the viability of the project showed that the cost of an independent farmer to produce the fuelstock required to produce biodieselmore » exceeds the cost of petroleum diesel under current conditions and that therefore without incentives, farmers would not be able to benefit economically from producing their own fuel. An educational website on biodiesel production and analysis was produced and a laboratory experiment demonstrating the production of biodiesel was developed and implemented into the Organic Chemistry II laboratory curriculum at UNCP. Five workshops for local farmers and agricultural agents were held in order to inform the broader community about the various fuelstock available, their cultivation and the process and advantages of biodiesel use and production. This project fits both Universities’ goals in the Biofuels Research Initiative, since it uses an alternative fuelstock: namely canola. The outcomes of this project may eventually aid in reducing the state’s consumption of corn and soybean, which are important food crops. The project will also encourage regional farmers to grow alternative crops for biofuel production. The success of this project has contributed towards the development of Robeson County, an economically disadvantaged region. Additionally it should be noted that Robeson County serves a large Native American population. Therefore, training and engaging this minority group in the energy industry was an important accomplishment.« less
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  1. Univ. of North Carolina, Pembroke, NC (United States)
  2. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State Univ., Greensboro, NC (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
University of North Carolina, Pembroke, NC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Contributing Orgs:
North Carolina A&T State University
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS Biodiesel