Supercritical ethanol technology for the production of biodiesel: Process optimization studies

Meei Mei Gui, Keat Teong Lee*, Subhash Bhatia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Biodiesel is currently produced from transesterification reaction of various types of edible oil with methanol. However, the requirement of methanol makes the current biodiesel produce not totally 100% renewable as methanol is derived from fossil based products. Ethanol, on the other hand, can be produced from agricultural biomass via fermentation technology and is already easily available in the market at a high purity. Thus, in this work, possible 100% renewable biodiesel fuel was prepared from refined palm oil by using non-catalytic transesterification reaction in supercritical ethanol. The effect of various process parameters on the yield of biodiesel was studied using design of experiments (DOE). The process parameters studied are: reaction temperature (300-400 °C), reaction period (2-30 min) and ethanol-to-oil ratio (5-50). The optimum process conditions were then obtained using response surface methodology (RSM) coupled with center composite design (CCD). The results revealed that at the following optimum process conditions; reaction temperature of 349 °C, reaction period of 30 min and ethanol-to-oil ratio of 33, a biodiesel yield of 79.2 wt.% can be obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-292
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Supercritical Fluids
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2009


  • Biodiesel
  • Non-catalytic
  • Optimization
  • Supercritical ethanol
  • Transesterification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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