Transesterification of waste cooking oil into biodiesel: Process Development, CFD simulation and Engine performance testing

  • Rasha Ahmed Ali Abd Rabu

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Biodiesel is a mono-alkyl ester of the long chained vegetable or algae oil/animal fat/recycled cooking oil. It is considered as a sustainable fuel that can offset a large portion of petroleum diesel fuel by virtue its compatible properties in the Diesel IC engine. It also can be upgraded to be used in conjunction with upper distillate as jet fuel. In one study biodiesel was produced by transesterification of waste cooking oil (WCO) under different process settings to achieve optimal yield using multiple bioreactor in batch mode. Properties of the produced biodiesel are determined following several tests (flash point, density, viscosity, acid value, heating value, boiling point, and T90) and compared to the ASTM diesel standards. The favorable comparison strongly suggests the viability of the process and its scale up for mass production. These results also in favor of developing a modular and continuous process method that sounds economical and efficient. In the second study, flexible size tabular compact reactor is developed for continuous production, supported by high fidelity reactive flow numerical simulation. This tabular reactor renders process continuity and flexible throughtout at compact size. In the third study, as activation energy and rate constant are important parameters for the under taken numerical simulation, a chemical kinetics study was carried out following several controlled transesterification experiments at different temperatures and processing times. In this study, a reactive multiple species flow is conducted at exact, twice, and trice the stoichiometric conditions. Experimentally the developed continuous tube reactor resulted in better yield than traditional batch process, Thereby, minimizing alcohol and catalyst and downstream washing and drying. In the fourth, study biodiesel fuel blends B05, B10 and B20 were prepared and tested in a single cylinder 8 horse power Diesel Engine. The torque and the brake engine horsepower were obtained using a water cooled engine dynamometer. Real time monitoring of cylinder pressure and engine emissions was performed using a chemical cell type gas analyzer that simultaneously measures five species: O2, CO, CO2, HC's, and NOx. The results show a net decrease of HC and CO emissions for the biodiesel fuel blend compared to diesel fuel while the change of engine power and NOx emissions were negligible.
Date of AwardDec 2012
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorIsam Janajreh (Supervisor)


  • Engine performance
  • Simulation
  • Transfection

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