Master of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (MSBAE)


Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Document Type



The goal of this work was to assist in overcoming the most important bottlenecks in the biodiesel production chain: to improve the biodiesel production process (oil extraction and esterification) using advanced microwave technologies from traditional and alternative feedstock; and identify the important characteristics of an alternative, high oil yield crop (TT). Dielectric properties of two feedstocks, soybean and rice bran were measured in presence of several solvents at different ratios, temperature and frequency. Results indicated that dielectric properties are ratio, temperature, frequency and solvent type dependent. Quasi-linear relationship using second order logarithmic transformation of the data provided a reliable estimator for the behavior of dielectric properties of the feedstocks used. Results assisted in further selection of appropriate solvent, mixing ratio, temperature and frequency for the design and develop of a continuous microwave assisted extraction (CMAE) system for oil (laboratory and pilot scale). Yield of oil extracted increased with extraction temperature and time for both feedstocks. Oil yield high as 15% for soybean and 16% for rice bran was extracted at laboratory scale. At pilot scale, 18.6% oil for soybean and 19.5% for rice bran respectively was extracted, with oil quality meeting the ASTM requirements for vegetable oil. The continuous microwave system was further used for biodiesel transesterification reaction. High conversion rates (96.7-99.4%) were achieved at the reaction times (1, 5 and 10 min) and temperature (50 and 73°C) studied, with the required specifications for biodiesel quality. Quality analysis on oil extracted from TT kernel, provided evidence that after 12 weeks of storage in controlled atmosphere no differences in quality was observed compared to low cost air storage. Moreover, late harvested seeds did not show major degradation in oil quality necessary for biodiesel production when compared with early harvested seeds.



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Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Boldor, Dorin



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Engineering Commons