This study demonstrates the potential of Na-silica waste sponge as a source of low cost catalyst in the transesterification of waste cooking oil aided by ultrasound. In this work an environmentally friendly and efficient transesterification process using Na-loaded SiO2 from waste sponge skeletons as a solid catalyst is presented. The results showed that the methyl esters content of 98.4±0.4wt.% was obtainable in less than an hour (h) of reaction time at 55°C. Optimization of reaction parameters revealed that MeOH:oil, 9:1; catalyst, 3wt.% and reaction duration of 30min as optimum reaction conditions. The catalyst is able to tolerant free fatty acid and moisture content up to 6% and 8%, respectively. In addition, the catalyst can be reused for seven cycles while maintaining the methyl esters content at 86.3%. Ultrasound undoubtedly assisted in achieving this remarkable result in less than 1h reaction time. For the kinetics study at 50-60°C, a pseudo first order model was proposed, and the activation energy of the reaction is determined as 33.45kJ/mol using Arrhenius equation.
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