Preliminary Study on the Effects of Palm Methyl Ester Sulfonic Acid Catalyst Concentration on the Esterification Process of Glycerol 80% with Palm Oil Oleic Acid


Glycerol is a by-product of biodiesel industry which can still be further processed into more value-added products. An example of glycerol utilization is esterification of glycerol and oleic acid with the addition of methyl ester sulfonic acid (MESA) catalyst to produce glycerol ester. The purpose of this study was to obtain optimal conditions for esterification with different concentrations of added MESA catalyst as a variable factor. Before esterification, crude glycerol was purified by adding 5% (v/v) phosphoric acid 85%, producing glycerol with ± 80% glycerol content. Purified glycerol was then esterified with supply of nitrogen, at a temperature of 180 °C, and stirring speed of 400 rpm for 90 minutes. The best catalyst concentration used in esterification was 0.7%. Esterification done on that condition produced glycerol ester with the yield of 82.22%, density of 0.940 g/cm3, acid value of 52 ml KOH/g sample, viscosity of 81 cP (30 oC), kinematic viscosity of 53 cSt (40 oC), flash point of 202 oC, pour point of 0 oC, and boiling point of 105.5 oC

Keywords: Glycerol; MESA; esterification; glycerol ester