Analysis and Optimization of a biodiesel production from WCO

Project Report, 2017
24 Pages


I would like to thank:
My supervisor Mr Brett Freeman for his continued support and guidance.
My friend Sindi Ntwana for helping me.

Table of Contents
Acknowledgements ... 1
Table of Contents... 2
List of figures ... 3
List of Tables... 4
Abstract ... 5
1. Introduction ... 6
1.1 Current State Analysis... 6
1.2 Literature Review... 8
1.2.1 Biodiesel... 8
1.2.2 Waste Cooking Oil (WCO) ... 9
1.2.3 Biodiesel Production ... 9
1.3 Problem statement ...10
2. Root Cause Analysis ...10
A.Ishikawa diagram ...11
B. SWOT-analysis...11
2.1 Research Question...11
2.2 Objectives... 11
2.3 Experimentation ...11
3. Statistical Techniques...12
3.2 Analysis...13
4. Results and Solution ...14
5. Discussions...17
6. Conclusion ...20
7. References ...20
Appendices ... 21
Appendix A: Health and Safety aspects ...21
Appendix B: Transportation of biodiesel ...21
Appendix C: Ishikawa diagram...22
Appendix D: SWOT-Analysis... 23

List of figures
Figure 1 chemical process- Transesterification ...6
Figure 2 Process flow for biodiesel process within Mentor co...7
Figure 3 Transesterification reactions for biodiesel synthesis ...9
Figure 4 May, July and Total oil-in ...14
Figure 5 Total Oil-in (May & July) ...14
Figure 6 Suppliers -Percentage (%) ...14
Figure 7 WCO-May-Oil in ...14
Figure 8 WCO-July-Oil in...14

List of Tables
Table 1 Waste Oil Stock Control Sheet (May 2017) ...12
Table 2 Waste Oil Stock Control Sheet (July 2017)...12
Table 3 Oil in/May & July...13
Table 4 Total-oil in and %...13
Table 5 Titration Process...13
Table 6 Numerical Experimentation Analysis...19

The conventional approach of biodiesel production is transesterification, using oil and alcohol in the presence of a
catalyst with glycerol as a by-product of the reaction. Product quality is dependent on the type and amount of
catalyst, type of oil feedstock, alcohol-to-oil ratio, etc. In terms of the best process, currently the alkali catalyzed
process is the most profitable while the enzymatic based one is even more promising due to the lower consumption
of energy and water; however it requires that the enzyme cost is reduced.
The reason that biodiesel is not utilized widely around the world is due to the high cost of raw materials. To
overcome this, one can use lower quality oils, such as Waste Cooking Oil (WCO). A lot of research has been carried
out on the production of biodiesel from fresh vegetable and animal oil sources but the use of Waste Cooking Oil,
such as palm oil, etc. has not been well documented. Then the aim of this current project is to analyze and optimize
the conditions for biodiesel production from Waste Cooking Oil, by investigating interaction effects among process
variables (temperature, oil-to-methanol molar ratio and catalyst loading)using SPC and other tools. Thus this project
focuses on making biodiesel processes better and more efficient.

1. Introduction
1.1 Current State Analysis
Background of the company
While there are several companies in the biodiesel industry in
South Africa, very few have managed to make an impact and
add value in the way Mentor co. has. From its inception,
Mentor has demonstrated a strong commitment to the
environment and civil society by actively removing harmful
Waste oils from the food chain.
Mentor's brand is ubiquitous across the biodiesel industry; this
combined with provision of quality biofuels and reliability has
allowed the company to gain traction in a challenging industry
and distinguishing itself as the foremost producer of biodiesel
from Waste Cooking Oil.
Moreover, exploring biodiesel fuel, is of growing importance
within Mentor co. Biodiesel is recommended for use as a
substitute for petroleum-based diesel mainly because biodiesel
is a renewable, domestic resource with an environmentally
friendly emission profile and is readily biodegradable.
The raw materials for biodiesel production are vegetable oils,
animal fats and short chain alcohols.
Mentor co. has a focus on, high delivery reliability and to be
able to fulfill customer demand and keep competitive prices, it
requires optimized production processes and high capacity
utilization, as well as an undisturbed material provision.
Biodiesel is made through a chemical process called
transesterification whereby the glycerin is separated
from the fat or vegetable oil. The process leaves behind
two products: methyl esters and glycerin.
Figure 1 chemical process- Transesterification
Besides, the raw material shortage (Oil-in) has been a
known issue within Mentor co.
With an increasing importance of reduced capital
spending, and minimal asset, it turned out to be harder
to assure raw material availability, with smaller and
fewer safety stocks the whole supply chain got more
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Roland Kalonji (Author), 2017, Analysis and Optimization of a biodiesel production from WCO, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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