Umudike Journal of Engineering and Technology

Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike


Eze, C. C.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria

Obasi, R. U.
Department of Electrical Engineering, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria


The automation of an affordable house-hold biodiesel-batch production plant was presented. The system design automation, connection and implementation were done in three stages- an explicit connection of sodium methoxide tank using a motor powered stirrer, the timer and the solenoid valve, the connection of the groundnut oil tank using the heater band, the temperature controller and the solenoid valve and the connection of the reactor using the heater band, temperature controller, solenoid valve, a motor powered stirrer and a timer. Two heater bands and two electric motors were employed for heating and stirring the solenoid-fitted oil and reactor tanks respectively. The 5 minutes period required for the complete dissolution of sodium hydroxide in methanol (leading to sodium-methoxide production) was the same period when the vegetable oil (groundnut oil feedstock used here) was to be pre-heated to the desired 50oC before use. The solenoids fitted to these two tanks opened at the end of the set 5 minutes to discharge their contents into the reactor. In the reactor tank, stirring and heating at 65oC went on simultaneously during the next 45 minutes when transesterification reaction automatically stopped and its solenoid valve opened. 94.6% and 3.2g of fatty-acid methyl ester (biodiesel) and glycerol products respectively were discharged.

Keywords: Automation, transesterification, sodium-methoxide, vegetable oil feedstock, biodiesel

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Vol. 2 No. 2, DEC 2016

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