Optimization of biodiesel production from palm oil under supercritical ethanol conditions using hexane as co-solvent: A response surface methodology approach

Tapaswy Muppaneni, Harvind K. Reddy, Sundaravadivelnathan Ponnusamy, Prafulla D. Patil, Yingqiang Sun, Peter Dailey, Shuguang Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


In the present work, response surface methodology (RSM) was used to optimize the biodiesel production from palm oil under supercritical ethanol conditions. Hexane was added as a co-solvent, which in turn accelerated the reaction rate and increased the biodiesel yield. This process enables simultaneous transe-sterification of triglycerides and ethyl esterification of fatty acids in a shorter reaction time and may reduce the energy consumption due to simplified separation and purification steps. Different process parameters including alcohol to oil molar ratio (25: 1-50: 1), reaction time (10-30 min), reaction temperature (260-300 °C) and co-solvent ratio (0.1-0.4% v/v) were optimized using response surface methodology. A mathematical model was developed for predicting the fatty acid ethyl ester (FAEE) yield. Fatty acid ethyl esters produced from palm oil were measured and analyzed using FT-IR, GC-MS and thermogravi-metric analysis (TGA) methods. The fuel properties of the biodiesel produced were determined and compared to the American society for testing and materials (ASTMs) standards for biodiesel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-640
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013



  • Ethyl ester
  • Hexane
  • Palm oil
  • Supercritical ethanol
  • Transesterification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry

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