Effective Process Design Model for Sorghum Bi-oil Production and Conversion to Biofuel

Energy is the heart beat of every economy, globally. The source of this critical element is the sale determinant of the end users' effects as far as concerns the state of the atmosphere, the climate and the survival of the flora and the fauna. The study will seek economically viable ways to enrich the octane-poor sorghum bio-oil to an octane rich bio-fuel for effective performance in motor engines.

The broad objective of the study is to develop a conventional process through which bio-oil from herbaceous plants (sorghum) could be extracted and. be eventually octane- enriched so as to effectively perform in internal combustion engines.

The specific objectives of the study are: To identify the physical and chemical properties of sorghums bio-fuel potential pertinent to the process design; applying the parameters identified to develop an economically based process design model which can be employed for design purposes, or serve as a springboard for green energy research endeavors.

To achieve the above objectives a series of runs using different amounts of concentrations of the reactant (CA, in /liter of solvent) will be made. This will be followed by choosing the highest CA,in as the bases for calculating the amount of feed rate (F AO) and the conversions. For each run, feed rate, work, reactants and concentrations) (F AO, W, XA (in-out); will be determined.

Conclusively therefore, a series of rate concentration data will be gathered. That data and any other information affecting the productivity of the process i.e., the quality and the quantity of the yield will be subjected to the differential methods of analysis.

The resulting values hence will be substituted in the performance equation and eventually to an economic maximization model to determine the process' economic viability. The resulting values will then be substituted to an overall performance equation from which design parameters will be derived. Comparative efficiency tests of the bio-fuel produced will be tested against existing bio-fuels and the conventional fuels. All possible engine performance tests against the corresponding conventional fuels will be made.

It is envisaged that the model will provide an informative frame work that will found a basis for future unit design ventures, and owing to the abundance of sorghum plant in Kenya, its low water requirements and negligible demand for attention from the farmer, the study deserves prioritizing.

  • Joseph Waweru

Sponsored by:  NCST

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