In an effort to optimize the reaction conditions of biodiesel production from lard, response surface methodology was applied, and the effects of five-level-three-factors and their reciprocal interactions were assessed. A total of 20 individual experiments were conducted, and were designed to study reaction temperature, catalyst amount, and oil-to-methanol molar ratio. A statistical model predicted that the highest conversion yield of lard biodiesel would be 98.6%, at the following optimized reaction conditions: a reaction temperature of 65 °C, a catalyst amount of 1.26%, and an oil-to-methanol molar ratio of 7.5:1, with a 20-min reaction time. Using these optimal factor values under experimental conditions in three independent replicates, an average content of 97.8 ± 0.6% was achieved, and this value was well within the range predicted by the model. The quality of biodiesel produced from lard at the optimum reaction conditions satisfied the relevant quality standards, with the exception of cold filter plugging point. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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