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Bioresour Technol. 2014 Mar;156:222-31. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2014.01.028. Epub 2014 Jan 23.

A more robust model of the biodiesel reaction, allowing identification of process conditions for significantly enhanced rate and water tolerance.

Author information

1
School of Chemical Engineering & Advanced Materials, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK.
2
School of Chemical Engineering & Advanced Materials, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK. Electronic address: anh.phan@ncl.ac.uk.

Abstract

A more robust kinetic model of base-catalysed transesterification than the conventional reaction scheme has been developed. All the relevant reactions in the base-catalysed transesterification of rapeseed oil (RSO) to fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) were investigated experimentally, and validated numerically in a model implemented using MATLAB. It was found that including the saponification of RSO and FAME side reactions and hydroxide-methoxide equilibrium data explained various effects that are not captured by simpler conventional models. Both the experiment and modelling showed that the "biodiesel reaction" can reach the desired level of conversion (>95%) in less than 2min. Given the right set of conditions, the transesterification can reach over 95% conversion, before the saponification losses become significant. This means that the reaction must be performed in a reactor exhibiting good mixing and good control of residence time, and the reaction mixture must be quenched rapidly as it leaves the reactor.

KEYWORDS:

Hydroxide–methoxide equilibrium; Kinetics; MATLAB; Saponification; Transesterification

PMID:
24508659
DOI:
10.1016/j.biortech.2014.01.028
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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