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An effective modular process for biodiesel manufacturing using heterogeneous catalysis

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      Abstract

      We present an innovative reaction set-up and process for biodiesel manufacturing by heterogeneous catalysis.

      Abstract

      We present an innovative reaction set-up and process for biodiesel manufacturing by heterogeneous catalysis. This process has two key advantages over the state-of-the-art process: it enables a variable reaction time and easy catalyst switching/replacement. The process principle presented here is generic for liquid-phase reactions requiring long residence times, where conventional fixed-bed column reactors offer little flexibility. This is especially important when one switches between feedstocks or when the catalyst activity declines over time. Biodiesel manufacturing is a highly relevant example, because the reactor performance depends on the feedstock nature and composition. The concept is demonstrated in a scaled-down continuous laboratory reactor, keeping a similar reaction time and comparable heat and mass transfer to a large-scale process by optimising the reactor dimensions, fluid velocity and catalyst pellet size. We then provide the design of the large-scale process, which consists of serpentine-type plug flow reactors assembled as vertical tubes filled with catalysts. The reactor productivity can increase significantly by reducing the catalyst pellet size. A switching system allows connecting/bypassing the tubes and easy catalyst replacement. The reactor can be employed in a two-stage reaction technology, or in a one-stage reaction combined with membrane separation. Production capacity can be scaled-up simply by adding parallel modules. The versatility and ease of application make this catalytic process concept suitable for low-cost mobile biodiesel production plants.

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      Most cited references 35

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      Solid Acid Catalysts for Biodiesel Production –-Towards Sustainable Energy

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        Structure-reactivity correlations in MgAl hydrotalcite catalysts for biodiesel synthesis

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          Heterogeneous Catalysts for Biodiesel Production

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            CSTAGD
            Catalysis Science & Technology
            Catal. Sci. Technol.
            Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
            2044-4753
            2044-4761
            2016
            2016
            : 6
            : 15
            : 6097-6108
            10.1039/C6CY00426A
            © 2016
            Product
            Self URI (article page): http://xlink.rsc.org/?DOI=C6CY00426A

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