Hernandez, Rafael

Committee Member

Zappi, Mark

Committee Member

Toghiani, Hossein

Committee Member

French, Todd

Committee Member

Schultz, Tor

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Biodiesel has come to the forefront of the energy community as a clean-burning, renewable energy that can replace the use of No. 2 Diesel fuel. Tall oil fatty acids, a by-product of the pulp and paper industry, may be utilized as a biodiesel feedstock. This thesis presents an empirical study of the acid-catalyzed esterification of tall oil fatty acids into biodiesel. Under atmospheric conditions, factorial design analysis determined the optimum parameters to be methanol ratio (6:1), sulfuric acid (5%), and temperature (60oC). This reaction was tolerant to water up to 1%. A pseudo-homogeneous second order kinetic model was applied to the reaction at the optimal conditions. The Activation Energy was calculated to be 19.73 kJ/mol with a pre-exponential factor of 23.6. Quality tests were performed under ASTM D 6751-06 to evaluate the final product with tall oil methyl esters having exceptional cold flow properties with a cloud point of -10.7oC.

Temporal Coverage