Development of Clay Foam Ceramic as a Support for Fungi Immobilization to Biodiesel Production (RESEARCH NOTE)


1 Renewable Energies, Material and Energy Research Center

2 Ceramic department, Materials and Energy Research Center


Biodiesel is an attractive alternative fuel because of its nontoxicity and biodegradability properties. Biodiesel is produced through transesterification of vegetable oils’ triglyceride. It is obtained from vegetable oils or fats either by chemical or enzyme-catalyzed transesterification with methanol or ethanol. By using whole-cell biocatalyst immobilized within biomass support particles (BSPs) can overcome the obstacle of enzymatic catalyst high cost. The object of this research is to produce clay foam ceramic as BSP by replica method from raw materials such as clay, sodium silicate and sodium tripolyphosphate. To prepare the whole cell biocatalyst the Rhizopus Oryzae fungi (PTCC 5174) was immobilized on the ceramic foam with bulk density and porosity of 0.3 g/cm3 and 88.8%, respectively. The deposited biomass on clay foam particles can be observed through scanning electronic microscopy (SEM). A packed-bed reactor (PBR) system using whole-cell biocatalyst was developed for biodiesel production by pretreated used cooking oil (UCO). Clay foam ceramic seems to be more suitable with respect to polyurethane foam for supporting fungi immobilization because it shows high mechanical strength and reduces damaged microorganisms.