Author(s): ElMashad HM, Zhang R, AvenaBustillos RJ
Salmon oil, a by-product of salmon processing, was used as a feedstock for biodiesel production via transesterification in a two-step process. Two different types of salmon oil were tested: salmon oil extracted from acidified salmon hydrolysate and salmon oil extracted from salmon by-products. Optimal amounts of chemicals required to give the highest biodiesel yield from each oil were determined using batch production procedures. It was found that due to the high acid value of salmon oil, alkaline-catalysed transesterification was not an effective method for producing biodiesel from the salmon oil. Therefore a two-step process was applied, in which a sulphuric acid-catalysed pre-treatment was used in the first step to reduce the acid value from 12.0 to 3 mg [KOH] g [oil]-1 and then, in the second step, KOH-catalysed transesterification was applied. All experiments were performed at a temperature of 52±2 °C with a mixing intensity of 600 rpm. Based on the total weight of salmon oil used, the maximum biodiesel yield of 99% was achieved using a total methanol/molar ratio of 9.2% and 0.5% (w/w) KOH. Ester loss due to the formation of emulsion during the washing and drying steps was 15% maximum. This loss could be reduced in practical applications by better design of washing and drying techniques. A preliminary economic analysis showed that the cost of biodiesel production from salmon oil was almost twice that produced from soybean oil.