280506 The Effect of Phase, Feed Composition and Temperature On Biodiesel Production and Microreactor Design

Thursday, November 1, 2012: 1:10 PM
320 (Convention Center )
Tricia A. W. Thomas1, Frank Jones1, Eric Snider1, Sarah Torgeson1, Ben Kegley1 and Rob Bailey2, (1)Chemical Engineering, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN, (2)Engineering Science, Loyola University in Maryland, Baltimore, MD

Alternatives to petroleum-based fuels must be commercialized to ensure national energy security, but profitable, clean, carbon-neutral energy sources have proven difficult to develop. Biodiesel is one alternative that is attractive: it is renewable and carbon-neutral and can be manufactured from a broad variety of domestic feedstocks. Both triglycerides (oils) and free fatty acids (FFAs) can be reacted with alcohol to form fatty acid methyl esters (FAME, aka biodiesel).

This study explores reaction behavior of triglycerides/FFAs and methanol to biodiesel using solid metal and metal oxide (acid and base) catalysts in batch reactors and in continuous flow microchannels. Oils and FFA’s are successfully converted to biodiesel over a broad range of temperatures (room temperature to 180°C). Microchannels turn hours of processing time in stirred tank reactors to minutes or seconds. FFA’s can also act as a co-solvent between the immiscible triglycerides and alcohol. The effects of feed fractions (triglycerides/FFAs/methanol), multiple liquid phases, and temperature on biodiesel production are investigated. The impact of these effects on the design and operation of microreactors will be discussed.

Extended Abstract: File Uploaded
See more of this Session: Alternative Fuels II
See more of this Group/Topical: Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division