- 4:10 PM

Kinetics of Heterogeneously Catalyzed Triglyceride Transesterification: A New Simulation Framework for Biodiesel Production

Mian Xu, Chemical Engg & Analytical Science, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom and Jhuma Sadhukhan, Centre for Process Integration, Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Biodiesel, an alternative diesel fuel, has become more attractive recently because of its environmental benefits and the increase in the petroleum price. Nowadays, most industrial applications of biodiesel production are performed by the transesterification of renewable biological sources based on homogeneous acid catalysts, which requires downstream neutralization and separation leading to a series of technical and environmental problems. However, heterogeneous catalyst can solve these issues, and be used as a better alternative for biodiesel production. Thus, a heuristic diffusion-reaction kinetic model has been established to simulate the transesterification of alkyl ester with methanol over a series of heterogeneous Cs-doped heteropolyacid catalysts. The novelty of this framework lies in detailed modeling of surface reacting kinetic phenomena and integrating that with particle-level transport phenomena all the way through to process design and optimisation, which has been done for biodiesel production process for the first time. This multi-disciplinary research combining chemistry, chemical engineering and process integration offers better insights into catalyst design and process intensification for the industrial application of Cs-doped heteropolyacid catalysts for biodiesel production. A case study of the transesterification of tributyrin with methanol has been demonstrated to establish the effectiveness of this methodology.

Keywords: biodiesel production, heterogeneous catalysts, internal diffusion, reaction kinetics