PFAD and Its Potential to be The Raw Material for Biodiesel

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Palm Fatty Acid Distillate (PFAD) is a by-product of crude palm oil refinery plant. Palm Fatty Acid Distillate (PFAD) is taken as distillate of stripping tower of Free Fatty Acid (FFA). It is a light brown solid at room temperature, melting to a brown liquid on heating.

Malaysia and Indonesia are the largest producers of palm oil. The application of PFAD is for animal feed, cosmetics production, detergent production, etc. Besides that, PFAD is also used as the raw material for biodiesel production which is now being developed in order to shift the use of crude oil into renewable energy. The amount of readily available PFAD is not insignificant, and it presents biodiesel producers with excellent access to a low-cost, non-food source of feedstock. PFAD is always traded at a discount to crude or refined.

The production of biodiesel from PFAD is through esterification and transesterification reactions. The products from those reactions are biodiesel and glycerine (by-product). Since the production of PFAD itself is high especially in both countries mentioned before, the conversion of PFAD to biodiesel could encourage the utilization of renewable energy. Diagrams below show the process of converting PFAD into biodiesel.

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