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Production of Triacetin by Microwave Assisted Esterification of Glycerol Using Activated Natural Zeolite

1Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Syiah Kuala University, Darussalam, Banda Aceh - 23111, Indonesia

2Department of Agricultural Product Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Syiah Kuala University, Darussalam, Banda Aceh - 23111, Indonesia

Received: 25 Jan 2019; Revised: 3 Jun 2019; Accepted: 3 Jun 2019; Published: 1 Dec 2019; Available online: 30 Sep 2019.
Open Access Copyright (c) 2019 by Authors, Published by BCREC Group under

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Triacetin, an alternative biodiesel additive, was prepared by esterification of glycerol with acetic acid in the presence of chemically activated natural zeolite. The esterification was carried out in a small reaction flask under microwave irradiation. The catalyst was characterized for its morphology by SEM and its chemical composition by X-ray Diffraction (XRD). The Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) micrograph indicates improved surface area of the zeolite, while the XRD analysis shows an increase in Si/Al ratio from natural zeolite to 6.042 and its crystallinity value of 12.23%. The Fourier Transform Infra Red (FTIR) analysis obtained showed that microwave-heated samples have an esters group spectrum of triacetin at 1702 cm-1. The conversion value of glycerol was more than 95% at molar ratio of the reactants 1:9 and catalyst loading of 3%. The selectivities for monoacetin, diacetin and triacetin were 80.1%, 15.4%, and 4.5% at 60 minutes, and 43.0%, 48.6%, and 8.3% at 90 minutes. It shows that the conversion took place in consecutive steps and the use of microwave allows the reaction proceeding at milder condition. 

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Keywords: Triacetin; Glycerol; Biodiesel Additive; Zeolite; Microwave
Funding: Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education, Indonesia through the Higher Education Priority Research (PTUPT) Scheme (Grant Number 122/UN11.2/PP/SP3/2018)

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