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Enzymatic bioprocessing of vegetable oils for the production of biodiesel

Published in Scientific Papers. Series B. Horticulture, Vol. LVI
Written by Alexandra GHIORGHIŢĂ, Gheorghe CÂMPEANU, Mircea POPESCU, Florentina ISRAEL, Gabriela NEAŢĂ …

Biodiesel is a renewable, alternative fuel for diesel engines, that has captured the attention of the whole world, as it can be used both alone and mixed with diesel for unmodified diesel engines. It is easily obtained from common raw materials, as well as wastes. Biodiesel obtained through biotechnological procedures (biocatalysis) is of superior quality to chemical synthesis biodiesel. The use of purified lipases, such as pig pancreas lipase, Thermomyces lanuginosus lipase or lipase B from Candida antarctica as a biocatalyst for biodiesel obtainment has shown great results and the optimum control parameters have been studied. The production of biodiesel from vegetable oils using different lipases has been investigated. Results have shown that the type of lipase, reaction media and operational parameters (reaction time, temperature, lipase load, alcohol:oil molar ratio and water concentration) have influenced biodiesel yield. In order to establish the best composition and process conditions, an optimization procedure has been carried out. The enzymatic transesterification was performed in an organic solvent-containing system, in agitated flasks, at various temperatures (40-50oC) and for different periods of time (10-14 hours). Also, variations of the alcohol:oil molar ratios, enzyme concentrations and added water percent were studied. A statistic evaluation of the results was performed, for the proper optimization of the process parameters in regard to conversion. Under optimal operating conditions, the fatty acid methyl esters (biodiesel) yields were >90%.

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