Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


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


Chemical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering


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