Acid-Catalyzed Esterification Pretreatment of High Free Fatty Acid Crude Rice Bran Oil for Biodiesel Production DOI: 10.32526/ennrj.17.3.2019.24

Main Article Content

Tin Mar Lar Thein
Vinod K. Jindal
Ranjna Jindal
Nuttawan Yoswathana


This study investigated the acid-catalyzed esterification of two brands of crude rice bran oil (CRBO) with free fatty acids (FFAs) content of about 8 and 10%, respectively. Experimental variables included reaction time, methanol-to-FFA molar ratio and sulfuric acid content with temperature and stirring speed fixed at  60 °C and 600 RPM, respectively. A central composite design was used initially for sequential experimentation and followed by a Box-Behnken design to refine the optimum process conditions. Results showed that final FFA in CRBO could be reduced to less than 1% FFA in a single-step. The methanol-to-FFA molar ratio had the maximum influence on the esterification process and was followed by the reaction time and amount of catalyst. The optimum conditions for FFA conversion in CRBO were: reaction time 90 and 48 min, 62:1 and 70:1 methanol-to-FFA molar ratio, 22.5 and 20% (w/w) sulfuric acid based on FFA for Brand I and II, respectively. Under these pretreatment conditions, initial FFA was reduced to 0.61 and 0.70%, respectively making the CRBO suitable for biodiesel production.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Mar Lar Thein, T., K. Jindal, V., Jindal, R., & Yoswathana, N. (2019). Acid-Catalyzed Esterification Pretreatment of High Free Fatty Acid Crude Rice Bran Oil for Biodiesel Production: DOI: 10.32526/ennrj.17.3.2019.24. Environment and Natural Resources Journal, 17(3), 68-79. Retrieved from
Original Research Articles


1. Allen Jeffrey J, Breedlin P, Ajo Brijesh AMS, Jerlin Benito B, Fransingh FL. Rice bran oil as a possible resource for biodiesel. International Journal of Science, Engineering and Technology Research 2017;6(1):25-9.

2. American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS). AOCS Methods for Biodiesel Feedstock Quality: Technical Services. Illinois, USA: AOCS Press; 2017.

3. Amin L, Hashim H, Mahadi Z, Ibrahim M, Ismail K. Determinants of stakeholders’ attitudes towards biodiesel. Biotechnology for Biofuels 2017;10(1):219.

4. Amin SK, Abdallah HA. Enhancement of free fatty acid in rice bran oil for acid catalysis biodiesel production. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences 2012;6(3):795-806.

5. Aransiola EF, Ojumu TV, Oyekola OO, Madzimbamuto TF, Ikhu-Omoregbe DI. A review of current technology for biodiesel production: state of the art. Biomass and Bioenergy 2014;61:276-97.

6. Arora R, Toor AP, Wanchoo RK. Esterification of high free fatty acid rice bran oil: parametric and kinetic study. Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Quarterly 2016;29(4):617-23.

7. Atadashi IM, Aroua MK, Aziz AA, Sulaiman NM. Production of biodiesel using high free fatty acid feedstocks. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 2012;16(5):3275-85.

8. Baskar G, Aiswarya R. Trends in catalytic production of biodiesel from various feedstocks. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 2016;57:496-504.

9. Berchmans HJ, Hirata S. Biodiesel production from crude Jatropha curcas L. seed oil with a high content of free fatty acids. Bioresource Technology 2008;99(6):1716-21.

10. Bouaid A, El Boulifi N, Martinez M, Aracil J. Optimization of a two-step process for biodiesel production from Jatropha curcas crude oil. International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies 2012;7(4):331-7.

11. Canakci M, Van Gerpen J. Biodiesel production from oils and fats with high free fatty acids. Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers 2001; 44(6):1429-36.

12. Chai M, Tu Q, Lu M, Yang YJ. Esterification pretreatment of free fatty acid in biodiesel production, from laboratory to industry. Fuel Processing Technology 2014;125:106-30.

13. Chen R, Qin Z, Han J, Wang M, Taheripour F, Tyner W, O'Connor D, Duffield J. Life cycle energy and greenhouse gas emission effects of biodiesel in the United States with induced land use change impacts. Bioresource Technology 2018;251:249-58.

14. Chhabra M, Sharma A, Dwivedi G. Performance evaluation of diesel engine using rice bran biodiesel. Egyptian Journal of Petroleum 2017;26(2):511-8.

15. Demirbas A, Bafail A, Ahmad W, Sheikh M. Biodiesel production from non-edible plant oils. Energy Exploration and Exploitation 2016;34(2):290-318.

16. Farag HA, El-Maghraby A, Taha NA. Optimization of factors affecting esterification of mixed oil with high percentage of free fatty acid. Fuel Processing Technology 2011;92(3):507-10.

17. Ghadge SV, Raheman H. Biodiesel production from mahua (Madhuca indica) oil having high free fatty acids. Biomass and Bioenergy 2005;28(6):601-5.

18. Grebemariam S, Marchetti JM. Biodiesel production technologies: review. AIMS Energy 2017;5(3):425-57.

19. Gunawardena S, Walpita DH, Ismail M. Method for quantification of methanol and sulfuric acid required for esterification of high free fatty acid oils in biodiesel production. International Journal of Renewable Energy Research 2017;7(4):1639-45.

20. Hamze H, Akia M, Yazdani F. Optimization of biodiesel production from the waste cooking oil using response surface methodology. Process Safety and Environmental Protection 2015;94:1-10.

21. Hanif MA, Nisar S, Akhtar MN, Nisar N, Rashid N. Optimized production and advanced assessment of biodiesel: a review. International Journal of Energy Research 2018;42(6):2070-83.

22. Kamath HV, Regupathi I, Saidutta MB. Optimization of two step karanja biodiesel synthesis under microwave irradiation. Fuel Processing Technology 2011;92(1): 100-5.

23. Kattimani VR, Venkatesha BM, Ananda S. Biodiesel production from unrefined rice bran oil through three-stage transesterification. Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science 2014;4(03):361.

24. Li D, Faiza M, Ali S, Wang W, Tan CP, Yang B, Wang Y. Highly efficient deacidification of high-acid rice bran oil using methanol as a novel acyl acceptor. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 2018; 184(4):1061-72.

25. Liao CC, Chung TW. Analysis of parameters and interaction between parameters of the microwave-assisted continuous transesterification process of Jatropha oil using response surface methodology. Chemical Engineering Research and Design 2011;89(12):2575-81.

26. Lin L, Ying D, Chaitep S, Vittayapadung S. Biodiesel production from crude rice bran oil and properties as fuel. Applied Energy 2009;86(5):681-8.

27. Mahmudul HM, Hagos FY, Mamat R, Adam AA, Ishak WF, Alenezi R. Production, characterization and performance of biodiesel as an alternative fuel in diesel engines: a review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 2017;72:497-509.

28. Mohandass R, Ashok R, Selvaraju A, Rajagopan S. Homogeneous catalysts used in biodiesel production: a review. International Journal of Engineering Research and Technology 2016;5(5):264-8.

29. Montefrio MJ, Xinwen T, Obbard JP. Recovery and pre-treatment of fats, oil and grease from grease interceptors for biodiesel production. Applied Energy 2010;87(10):3155-61.

30. Natthapon S, Krit S. Optimization of methyl ester production from palm fatty acid distillate using single-step esterification: a response surface methodology approach. ARPN Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences 2015;10(16):7075-9.

31. Sivakumar P, Sindhanaiselvan S, Gandhi NN, Devi SS, Renganathan S. Optimization and kinetic studies on biodiesel production from underutilized Ceiba Pentandra oil. Fuel 2013;103:693-8.

32. Tabatabaei M, Karimi K, Horváth IS, Kumar R. Recent trends in biodiesel production. Biofuel Research Journal 2015;2(3):258-67.

33. Verma P, Sharma MP. Review of process parameters for biodiesel production from different feedstocks. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 2016; 62:1063-71.

34. Wang X, Wang X, Wang T. An effective method for
35. reducing free fatty acid content of high-acid rice bran oil by enzymatic amidation. Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry 2017;48:119-24.

36. Wang Y, Ou S, Liu P, Xue F, Tang S. Comparison of two different processes to synthesize biodiesel by waste cooking oil. Journal of Molecular Catalysis A: Chemical 2006;252(1-2):107-12.

37. Zullaikah S, Lai CC, Vali SR, Ju YH. A two-step acid-catalyzed process for the production of biodiesel from rice bran oil. Bioresource Technology 2005;96(17): 1889-96.