Optimization Study on the Thermal Decarboxylation of Coconut Oil Using Bentonite as Catalyst

Author : Tapia, Ma. Charlene Caraos
Major Adviser : Capunitan, Jewel A.
Committee Members : Bambase Jr., Manolito E.; Borines, Myra G.; Movillon, Jovita A.; Demafelis, Rex B. 
Year : 2016
Month : June
Type : Thesis
Degree: BS
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Thermal decarboxylation of coconut oil was studied by using bentonite as the catalyst. The reaction was done using kerosene as a solvent and a catalyst loading of 0.99 % at 200 rpm for three hours. Central composite design was done to determine the optimum values of the temperature and solvent concentration. High values employed were 220°C and 86.81% solvent concentration while low values were 180°C and 67.03% solvent concentration. Coconut oil conversion was considered as a response for this study and was determined using thin layer chromatography. Increasing the temperature improved oil conversion because of the increase in contact between the oil and catalyst, and the increase in the acidity of bentonite. However, at temperatures above 210.1°C, decreased oil conversion can be attributed to the deactivation of the catalyst. On the other hand, increasing solvent concentration promotes miscibility which increases the rate of reaction. However, for >77.41 % solvent concentration, the decrease in conversion may be due to the presence of aromatic compounds in the kerosene which may compete with the catalyst’s active sites. Upon validation, a conversion of (51.84±1.06) %, which is not significantly different from the theoretical value, (50.30±1.06) %, was obtained proving that 210.1°C and 77.41 % solvent concentration are the optimum settings for the thermal decarboxylation of coconut oil using bentonite.

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