Synthesis of Biodiesel

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1 autions Purpose NaH is corrosive and toxic. Methanol is toxic. To synthesize biodiesel. Introduction Biodiesel, a methyl ester, is an alternative to diesel that is made from a triglyceride (like vegetable oil) and either ethanol or methanol. The oil used in the process can come from many sources including soybeans, corn, canola, and used frying oil. Because it comes from renewable resource, it is referred to as a biofuel. The process involves taking the oil, a triglyceride, combining it with an alcohol, to form biodiesel, which is either an ethyl ester or a methyl ester. The process uses a base, either potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide, as a catalyst to help in the process and forms glycerol as a byproduct. The reaction is shown below: H 2 H + 3 H 3 H atalyst H 2 H H H + 3 H 3 H 2 H 2 H Triglyceride Methanol Glycerol Methyl Ester The process involves combining the methanol with the catalyst, in this case sodium hydroxide. This forms sodium methoxide, very strong base which is then combined with the vegetable oil. After the reaction is complete, the oil and glycerol form two separate phases with the glycerol being on the bottom and the biodiesel on the top. The glycerol is then removed and the biodiesel layer is then rinsed with water to remove any remaining catalyst. In today s lab, we will be making biodiesel on a small batch scale. The usual biodiesel process is a continuous process that involves large tanks and pumps. This lab will give you an idea of what happens inside the vessels and pipes as biodiesel is being made. eference Data Density (g/ml) Molar Mass (g/mol) Methanol Vegetable il Glycerol Biodiesel evision F10 IB Page 1 of 6

2 Procedure 1. Take a 50 ml Erlenmeyer flask with a stir bar and add 14 ml of pure methanol. 2. Place the flask on a stir plate and set speed at a rate where it doesn t splash but stirs vigorously. 3. Slowly add 0.50 g of NaH. Do not go over this mass of the NaH; add carefully. 4. bserve the NaH being completely dissolved. nce this happens, sodium methoxide is formed, a very strong and dangerous base. 5. While the sodium methoxide is being formed, place 60 ml of pure vegetable oil in a 200 ml beaker on a hot plate and warm to 50. Then place it on a stir plate with a stir bar under medium agitation. 6. After step 4 is complete, SLWLY the sodium methoxide add it to the warm vegetable oil. Make sure no residual NaH gets into the oil. The solution will be cloudy. 7. Stir the reaction mixture for 20 minutes 8. Transfer the solution to a 125 ml separatory funnel. Allow the solution to settle for 20 minutes using a ring stand; the glycerol layer will form on the bottom. If you do not see two layers, start over being sure to add no more than 0.50 g NaH. 9. nce glycerol has stopped forming, drain the glycerol into a small graduated cylinder using the stopcock. ecord the volume of glycerol. 10. Drain the biodiesel layer from the separatory funnel and measure the volume. Waste Disposal Pour all aqueous solutions down the sink with an excess of water. Dispose of the biodiesel as directed. lean-up Wash all glassware with soap then rinse 3 times with tap water, and once with deionized water. alculations: Show all work for calculations. 1. Use density to calculate mass from measured volumes. 2. Use molar mass to convert grams to moles. 3. alculate the theoretical yield of glycerol and biodiesel using the stoichiometry from the balanced equation, shown on page ompare the percent conversion of biodiesel. See post-lab question #1. evision F10 IB Page 2 of 6

3 alculations: evision F10 IB Page 3 of 6

4 Data Sheet Name: Lab Partner(s): Mass Balance eactants eaction Data Methanol NaH Vegetable il Volume Mass Moles Products Theoretical Yield Glycerol NaH Biodiesel Moles Mass Actual Yield Glycerol NaH Biodiesel Volume Mass Moles Percent onversion evision F10 IB Page 4 of 6

5 Post-lab Assignment Name: 1. Percent conversion is calculated by dividing the actual yield by the theoretical yield and multiplying the result by 100. alculate the percent conversion of biodiesel. 2. Do an overall mass balance of the reaction, total mass of products total mass of reactants. What do you think would account for the difference? 3. an you think of some ways to improve procedure to produce the biodiesel? Give 2 examples. 4. A normal biodiesel plant produces about 15,000,000 gallons per year. How much vegetable oil and methanol is needed to produce this much biodiesel? evision F10 IB Page 5 of 6

6 Pre-lab Assignment Name: 1. Write the balanced equation for the process of making the intermediate sodium methoxide. 2. Write the balanced equation for the second step of the process, the reaction of the sodium methoxide with a triglyceride. 3. Why is sodium hydroxide considered a catalyst in this process? 4. What is biodiesel used for? evision F10 IB Page 6 of 6

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