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Journal of Spectroscopy
Volume 2015, Article ID 714396, 8 pages
Research Article

Spectroscopic Analysis of Heterogeneous Biocatalysts for Biodiesel Production from Expired Sunflower Cooking Oil

1Department of Biochemistry and Sports Science, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda
2Department of Product Development, Uganda Industrial Research Institute, P.O. Box 7086, Kampala, Uganda

Received 29 July 2015; Revised 20 November 2015; Accepted 22 November 2015

Academic Editor: Feride Severcan

Copyright © 2015 Enoch Wembabazi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The study characterized heterogeneous biocatalyst synthesized from sucrose, saw dust, and chicken egg shells using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy coupled with Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR) technique. Acidic sulphonate (–SO3H) groups were more visible in the spectrum generated for carbonized and sulphonated sucrose than in carbonized and sulphonated saw dust. This was highlighted further by the significantly higher conversion percentage achieved for sulphonated sucrose (62.5%) than sulphonated saw dust (46.6%) during esterification of expired sunflower oil (). The spectra for calcinated egg shells also showed that the most active form of calcium oxide was produced at calcination temperature of 1000°C. This was confirmed in the single-step transesterification reaction in which calcium oxide generated at 1000°C yielded the highest biodiesel (87.8%) from expired sunflower oil. The study further demonstrated the versatility of the FTIR technique in qualitative analysis of biodiesel and regular diesel by confirming the presence of specific characteristic peaks of diagnostic importance. These findings therefore highlight the potential of FTIR-ATR as an inexpensive, fast, and accurate diagnostic means for easy identification and characterization of different materials and products.