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Optimizing the Neutralization Effect on the Yield and Quality of Corn Oil Methyl Ester
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  • Ewumbua Monono,
  • Md. Sanaul Huda,
  • Michael Odegaard,
  • Niloy Chandra Sarker,
  • Dean C. Webster
Ewumbua Monono
North Dakota State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

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Md. Sanaul Huda
North Dakota State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
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Michael Odegaard
North Dakota State University
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Niloy Chandra Sarker
North Dakota State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
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Dean C. Webster
North Dakota State University
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Abstract

The conversion of corn oil into quality methyl ester through the transesterification process is an age-old concept. Because of its higher degree of unsaturation, similar to soybean oil, transesterified corn oil can be used to produce bio-based resin. Replicating published methods did not result in the desired quantity and quality of corn methyl ester needed for bio-resin production, which requires further investigation. This research investigated the effect of neutralization on the yield and quality of methyl ester produced from corn oil. The reaction was conducted at 60 ºC with a methanol-oil ratio of 6:1 and NaOH as a catalyst. After stopping the reaction with HCl, a hypothesized recovered yield (>70%) of corn methyl ester was achieved. The process was conducted at different reaction times (0.5, 1, and 1.5 h) and acid amounts in neutralization (0, 25, 50, 75, and 100%). The methyl ester yield ranged from 45-79%. A statistical model was obtained with linear and quadratic terms, and the recovered yield varied significantly with the acid amount, reaction time, and their interactions. Stopping the reaction with 25% neutralization resulted in around 20% yield increase compared to no acid treatment. On the other hand, the yield was reduced by 18-24% with increasing time when no acid was added. All the measured characteristics of the produced corn methyl ester sample were found within the limits of ASTM D6751 pure methyl ester. Overall, the optimization of the neutralization process showed promise in increasing the yield of quality methyl ester from corn oil.