Lan Nguyen Phuong Tran
National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
Lan Nguyen Phuong Tran is a Ph D student from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan.
Commercial production of biodiesel uses refined vegetable as feedstock with base as the catalyst. However, pure vegetable oil contributes up to 80% of the overall biodiesel production cost. Activated sludge is a rich source of lipid and a potential feedstock for biodiesel production. It was estimated that drying constitutes about 50% of the cost of biodiesel production from wet activated sludge. In this study, wet activated sludge was directly used as feedstock to react with methanol under subcritical water condition. At 250 oC and a methanol to wet sludge ratio of 3.0 mL/g, a fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) yield of 33% can be achieved in 4 h. Acetic acid was employed as a catalyst to improve FAME yield as well as to decrease the amount of methanol and reaction time to 2.25 mL/g and 1 h, respectively required to reach the same FAME yield (33%). This process can be applied to maximize biodiesel conversion of feedstock with high FFA and moisture contents.