A continuous-flow bubble column reactor for biodiesel production by non-catalytic transesterification

Fuel (Impact Factor: 3.52). 06/2012; 96(1):595-599. DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2012.01.020


A continuous-flow bubble column reactor for biodiesel production by non-catalytic transesterification of triglycerides has been developed. The principle of a bubble column reactor for transesterification is similar to reactive distillation, where the reaction products in the gas phase are continuously removed from the reactive zone, while oil, as the reactant, is retained in the reactive zone (liquid phase). A dedicated laboratory-scale continuous-flow bubble column reactor, with a predetermined 200 mL liquid volume of palm oil in the reactor, has been used for this study. In this study, the effects of the methanol feed flow rates (1.5, 3.0, and 6.0 mL/min) and reaction temperatures (250, 270, and 290 °C) on the biodiesel productivity and methyl esters content in the biodiesel product were evaluated. The biodiesel productivity increased with MeOH feed flow rate and reaction temperature correspondingly. On the other hand, the purity of the methyl ester in the biodiesel product decreased.

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    • "(bubble column-type reactor) is widely used and known for the synthesis of methanol and fuels [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]. Although the geometry of the bubble column reactors is simple, the study of which is often complicated since these reactors use multiphase flows. "
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    ABSTRACT: The hydrodynamics of an air–water flow in a column has been analyzed. The reactor consisted of a vertical column of 0.055 m diameter and 0.255 m height, made of acrylic to achieve good visualization of the bubbles. The column was partially packed with solid cylindrical pellets. The study was focused on the region above the packed zone in three vertical positions. Measurements of velocity in ascendant flow direction were conducted at each position using laser Doppler anemometry. Velocities along the column diameter were experimentally determined for two liquids flow, 300 and 600 L/h. Two conditions of Reynolds number were obtained, Re: 8.3 and 16.7 × 103 based on inlet pipe diameter and water properties. The results show that the size and shape of the bubbles become smaller and uniform when the column was packed. Experimental measurements of the velocity were difficult to determine when the Re was higher (Re > 17 × 103). Also, the velocity profile showed instability of the flow, mainly in the near packed region. However, an average value of the velocity could be observed as function of the inlet condition.
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    ABSTRACT: The production of biodiesel can be accomplished using a variety of feedstock sources. Plant and microalgae based feedstocks are prominent and are studied extensively. Plant based feedstocks cultivated as monoculture on wastelands and trees in forests can cater towards partial fulfillment of feedstock requirements for biodiesel industry. Synthesis of biodiesel from microalgal oil has gathered immense interest and has potential to cater to the increasing feedstocks demands of the biodiesel industry. The major advantage offered by microalgal oil, as compared to plant based oils, is its potential for culture on non-arable land. Despite of the advantages of microalgal oil as a feedstock for biodiesel, there are constraints that have to be overcome in order to make it economical and sustainable. Sustainable approaches for both the plant and microalgae as feedstocks have been drawn. Despite there being several plant species, few have been found to be desirable as feedstocks for biodiesel production based on their lipid profiles. Among the microalgae, there are thousands of species and several of these have been cultured for extracting the oil to explore their feasibility in utilization as biodiesel feedstocks. Though, several of the microalgal species have shown potential for high biomass growth and lipid productivity, only a few have been found to provide a high biodiesel yield and conversion. Due to the several steps involved in the extraction of oil which are energy intensive, the cost of biodiesel from microalgal oil is high as compared with that obtained from the plant oils. A sustainable approach for utilizing plant and microalgal oils as feedstocks for biodiesel have been discussed. The emerging cost effective methods in production of biodiesel have been described. The energy return and greenhouse gas emissions from biodiesel have been outlined. Together, the plant oil and microalgal oil can offer potential source of feedstocks for the production of biodiesel.
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    ABSTRACT: In this high demand of renewable energy market, biodiesel was extensively produced via various catalytic and non-catalytic technologies. Conventional catalytic transesterification for biodiesel production has been shown to have limitation in terms of sensitivity to high water and free fatty acid, complicated separation and purification of biodiesel. In this study, an alternative and innovative approach was carried out via non-catalytic superheated methanol technology to produce biodiesel. Similar to supercritical reaction, the solvent need to be heated beyond the critical temperature but the reactor pressure remained at 0.1 MPa (atmospheric pressure). Transesterification reaction with superheated methanol was carried out at different reaction temperature within the limit of 270-300 degrees C and at different methanol flow rate ranging from 1 ml/min to 3 ml/min for 4 h. Results obtained showed that the highest biodiesel yield at 71.54% w/w was achieved at reaction temperature 290 degrees C and methanol flow rate at 2 ml/min with 88.81% w/w FAME content, implying the huge potential of superheated technology in producing FAME. (c) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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