Conference Dates

March 8-13, 2009


Biodiesel is a clean-burning fuel produced from grease, vegetable oils, or animal fats. Biodiesel is produced by transesterification of oils with short-chain alcohols or by the esterification of fatty acids. The transesterification reaction consists of transforming triglycerides into fatty acid alkyl esters, in the presence of an alcohol, such as methanol or ethanol, and a catalyst, such as an alkali or acid, with glycerol as a by-product. Due to diminishing petroleum reserves and the deleterious environmental consequences of exhaust gases from petroleum diesel, biodiesel has attracted attention during the past few years as a renewable and environmentally friendly fuel. Since biodiesel is made entirely from vegetable oil or animal fats, it is renewable and biodegradable.

The majority of biodiesel today is produced by alkali-catalyzed transesterification with methanol, which results in a relatively short reaction time. However, the vegetable oil and alcohol must be substantially anhydrous and have a low free fatty acid content because the presence of water and/or free fatty acid promotes soap formation. In the presentation, we examine different biodiesel sources (edible and non-edible), virgin oil versus waste oil, algae-based biodiesel which is gaining increasing importance, role of different catalysts including enzyme catalysts and the current state-of-the-art in biodiesel production.