This study involved optimization of the transesterification of palm-based methyl palmitate with triethanolamine to form esteramine, an intermediate for esterquats. This reaction is aided by Ca–Al as a heterogeneous catalyst and conducted in a 500-ml reaction unit. Response surface methodology (RSM) in combination with face-centered design was used to optimize the operating parameters. Results show that temperature was the most significant variable affecting the conversion of methyl palmitate, followed by catalyst dosage, quadratic effect of catalyst dosage, vacuum and interaction of vacuum and catalyst dosage. The optimum reaction conditions obtained were at temperature of 169 oC, catalyst dosage of 0.78 % and vacuum of 299 mbar. The optimized operating conditions could be used to further improve the selectivity that would maximize the formation of di-esteramine and minimize the tri-esteramine content by improving the Ca-Al catalyst basicity and acidity ratio.
Esteramine, Transesterification, Methyl Palmitate, Heterogeneous Catalyst, Esterquats.
 Friedli F., Keys R., Toney C.J., Portwood O., Whittlinger D., Doerr M. (2001). Novel new ester 31
quaternaries for improved performance benefits as rinse cycle fabric softeners, J. Surfact. Deterg, Vol. 30, pp. 401-405.
 Tyagi R., Tyagi V.K., Khanna R.K. (2006). Synthesis, characterization and performance of tallow fatty acids and triethanolamine based esterquats, J.Oleo Sci, Vol. 55, pp. 337-345.
 Puchta R., Krings P., Sandkuehler P. (1993). A new generation of softeners, Tenside, Surfact. Deterg, Vol. 30, pp. 186-191.
 Jiang Y., Geng T., Li Q. (2012). Synthesis of stearic acid triethanolamine ester over Al-SBA-J0, Porous Mater, Vol. 19, pp. 369 -374.
 Idris Z., Ahmad S., Nakasato S. (1995). Preparation of palm-based esteramine using chemical catalyst, Elaies, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 135 -145.
 Haliza A.A., Idrisol Z., Hazimah A.H. (2014). Transesterification of palm stearin methyl ester and triethanolamine, An Alternative Technology for Esterquats Production. Inter J App Sci and Tech, Vol. 4, No. 7, pp. 60-66.
 Masoumi H.R.F., Kassim A., Basri M., Abdullah D.K., Abdollahi Y., Ghani S.S., Rezaee M. (2013). Statistical optimization of process parameters for lipase-catalyzed synthesis of triethanolamine-based esterquats using response surface methodology in 2-liter bioreactor, The Sci World Journal, pp. 1-9.
 Geng T., Li Q., Jiang Y., Wang W. (2010). Synthesis of stearic acid triethanolamine ester over solid acid catalysts, Chinese Ch,em Lett 21, pp. 1020-1024.
 Geng T., Li Q., Jiang Y., Wang W. (2011). Esterification of stearic acid with triethanolamine over zirconium sulfate supported on SBA-15 mesoporous molecular sieve, J. Surfact Deterg, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 15–22.
 Jiang Y., Geng T., Li Q. (2012). Synthesis of stearic acid triethanolamine ester over Al-SBA-15, J Porous Mater 19, pp. 369–374.
 Haliza A.A., Aroua M.K., Yusoff R., Abas N.A., Idris Z., Hazimah A.H. (2016). Production of palm-based esteramine through heterogeneous catalysis, J Surfact Deterg, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 11–18.
 Cavani F., Trifirb F., Vaccari A. (1991). Hydrotalcite-type anionic clays preparation, properties and applications, Catal Today, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 173-301.
 Simonetti E.A.N., Thim G.P., Cortez G.G. (2014). Ca-Al hydrotalcites as catalysts for methanolysis and ethanolysis of soybean oil, Mod Res Catal, Vol. 3, pp. 117– 127.
 Gao L.J., Teng G.Y., Xiao G.M., Wei R.P. (2010). Biodiesel from palm oil via loading KF/Ca-Al hydrotalcite catalyst, Biomass Bioenerg, Vol. 34, pp. 1283-1288.
 Moos W.H., Pavia M.R., Ellington A.D., Kay B.K. (1997). Annual Reports in Combinatorial Chemistry and Molecular Diversity,Vol. 1, The Netherlands, ESCOM Science Publishers B.V.
 Norhazimah A.H., Faizal C.K.M. (2012). Optimization of fermentation parameters for the production of bio-ethanol from oil palm trunks sap using face-centered (CCD), Australian and New Zealand Chemical Engineers Conference Proceeding (Chemeca).
 Bonhorst C.W., Althouse P.M., Triebold H.O. (1948). Esters of naturally occurring fatty acids, Ind Eng Chem, Vol. 40, pp. 2379 – 84.
 Savita G.D., Agarwal D., Susanta B. (2008). Synthesis and characterization of hydrotalcites: potential thermal stabilizer for PVC, Indian J Chem 47A, pp. 1004-1008.
 Reddy L.V.A., Wee Y.J., Yun J.S., Ryu H.W. (2008). Optimization of alkaline protease production by batch culture of Bacilus sp. RKY3 through Plackett-Burman and response surface methodological approaches, Bioresource Technology, Vol. 99, No. 7, pp. 2242-2249.
 Haaland P.D. (1989). Experimental design in biotechnology, New York, Marcel Dekker Inc.
 Zabeti M., Daud W.M.A.W., Aroua M.K. (2009). Optimization of the activity of CaO/Al2O3 catalyst for biodiesel production using response surface methodology, Appl Cataly A Gen, Vol. 366, pp. 154–159.
 Xie W., Yang X., Zang X. (2015). Interesterification of soybean oil methyl stearate catalyzed by guanidine-functionalized SBA – 15 silica, J Am Oil Chem Soc, Vol. 92, pp. 915 - 925.
 Wang Y., Nie X., Liu Z. (2015). Biodiesel synthesis from styrax confuses hemsl catalyzed by S2O82- / ZrO2 – TiO2 – Fe3O4, J Am Oil Chem Soc, Vol. 92, pp. 813 – 820.
 Franklin R., Mendello R., Albert P., Steichen D., Trinh P.N. (2002). High di (alkyl fatty ester) amines and quaternary ammonium compounds derived therefrom, Patent No. US 200200 25915A1.
 Zabeti M., Daud W.M.A.W., Aroua M.K. (2010). Biodisel production using alumina-supported calcium oxide: an optimization study, Fuel Process Tecnol, Vol. 91, pp. 243–248.
 Jose R.O., Olga G., Belen M., Amaia P., Camilo R., Leire L., Jesus T., Marıa C.V. (2009). Synthesis of glycerol carbonate from glycerol and dimethyl carbonate by transesterification: catalyst screening and reaction optimization, Appl Cataly A Gen, Vol. 366, pp. 315–324.