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Sustainable Production of Biodiesel from Tallow, Lard and Poultry and its

Quality Evaluation

Teresa M. Mata1*, Nelson Cardoso3, Mariana Ornelas3, Soraia Neves1, Nidia S. Caetano1,2
1
LEPAE Laboratory for Process, Environmental and Energy Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of
Porto (FEUP), R. Dr. Roberto Frias S/N, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering (ISEP), Polytechnic Institute of Porto (IPP), R. Dr.
Antnio Bernardino de Almeida S/N, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal
3
Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto (FCUP), R. do Campo Alegre S/N, 4169-007,
Porto, Portugal

* Corresponding author: tmata@fe.up.pt

The gradual depletion of the world petroleum reserves and the environmental burdens associated with
fossil fuels exhaust emissions stimulated the search for cleaner, renewable and sustainable energy
sources. Biodiesel has become more attractive due to its potential environmental benefits, reducing global
warming and due to the fact that it is made from renewable energy sources. In fact, it can be produced
from a wide range of vegetable oils (e.g. rapeseed, soy, sunflower, or palm oil) or animal fat residues
from the meat and fish processing industries.
The technology and know-how needed to produce biodiesel efficiently is already available and the
implementation and set-up of a production facility is relatively easy. The cost of biodiesel, however, is the
main hurdle to its commercialization. In the last few months, most of the Portuguese biodiesel plants had
no choice than to stop their production as a consequence of the high market prices of vegetable oils. The
increase in price of most vegetable oils have yet encouraged the use of low-priced waste sources for
biodiesel production and not used for human food, such as waste animal fats. The real challenge here is to
have access to enough amounts of feedstocks to meet the current demands, without compromising
sustainable development.
This study aims to assess the viability of using three types of waste animal fats (tallow, lard and poultry)
for biodiesel production and to evaluate the obtained biodiesel quality, by comparison to the limits
defined by EN 14214. The following quality parameters are quantified and compared for the three types
of animal fats: acid value (mgKOH/gsample), iodine value (g I2/100gsample), kinematic viscosity at 40C
(mm2/s), density at 15C (kg/m3), water content (wt %), flash point (C), copper corrosion (3 h/50C),
higher heating value (MJ/kg), cold filter plugging point (C) and fatty acid composition (wt %).
There are several routes to obtain biodiesel from lipidic feedstocks. In this study the most common route
is used, that is the transesterification of triglycerides with low molecular weight alcohols (commonly
methanol) in the presence of a homogeneous alkali-catalyst (KOH) and operated in a batch mode. To
perform the reaction an excess of methanol must be used in the presence of the alkali-catalyst to shift the
reaction to a maximum yield of biodiesel product. It is recommended a methanol to alcohol molar ratio of
6:1, at reaction temperature of about 60C.
The alkali-catalyzed transesterification reaction is very sensitive to the presence of free fatty acids (FFAs)
and water in the lipidic feedstocks. Animal fats are typically more saturated than vegetable oils and
usually have a high FFAs content. When an alkali catalyst is added to these feedstocks, the FFAs react
with the catalyst to form soap and water. The soap formation does not only consume catalyst, but also
causes emulsions to be formed, which decreases the reaction conversion to biodiesel. In addition, the
animal fats have poor cold-flow properties that may prevent them from being used in cold climates. To
overcome these disadvantages, blending of biodiesel to diesel is usually done. In Portugal it is possible to
commercialise B100 (100% biodiesel) and blends up to B20 (20% biodiesel and 80% diesel) according to
the national legislation. Thus in this work, biodiesel obtained from the three types of animal fats are
blended up to 20% with diesel and the relevant quality parameters are evaluated.
Key words: Biodiesel; Animal fats; Tallow, Lard; Poultry; Production and Quality Evaluation, Biodiesel
to Diesel Blending