Among alternative fuels, biodiesel has been emphasized as a substantial candidate for diesel engines because of many advantages. However, the main shortcomings preventing more widespread use of biodiesel are high production cost and viscosity. In order to simultaneously overcome both of these shortcomings, the reaction conditions for the transesterification of waste cooking oil (WCO) were optimized using Taguchi and the full factorial design approaches. The analyses of signal to noise ratio and variance were also performed to identify the dominance of reaction conditions on viscosity and biodiesel yield. As a result, the optimal reaction conditions giving the lowest kinematic viscosity (3.991 cSt) and the highest biodiesel yield (98.19%) were determined to be as follows: sodium methoxide amount of 1.00 wt%, reaction time of 60 min, reaction temperature of 55 °C, and methanol to oil molar ratio of 6:1. The catalyst amount and methanol to oil molar ratio were found to be the most significant conditions influencing on the viscosity (10.36% and 78.87% contributions) and the yield (58.48% and 20.17% contributions), respectively. Finally, all physicochemical properties of final waste cooking oil biodiesel (WCOB) produced under optimal reaction conditions were found to meet the EN 14214.
Keywords: Alternative fuels; Fuel properties; Methyl ester; Taguchi method; Waste cooking oil.