(15f) Effect of Water On Esterification of Palmitic Acid Using ZSM-5 and Faujasite Zeolite Catalysts | AIChE

(15f) Effect of Water On Esterification of Palmitic Acid Using ZSM-5 and Faujasite Zeolite Catalysts


Coker, A. T. - Presenter, Mississippi State University
Iretskii, A. V. - Presenter, Lake Superior State University
Hernandez, R. - Presenter, Mississippi State University
White, M. G. - Presenter, Mississippi State University
French, T. - Presenter, Mississippi State University

Our research group has demonstrated the
production of fatty acid methyl esters (biodiesel) using activated sludge
generated from a wastewater treatment facility.  One of the main operating
costs of this process is drying of the sludge prior to oil extraction and
reaction.  A method of generating biodiesel from oil without
transesterification is to convert the lipids to free fatty acids via hydrolysis,
followed by esterification to obtain the fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). Thus,
we have conducted a study to determine the maximum concentration of water that
the esterification reaction would tolerate using zeolite catalysts.

This alternative method employs a solid
acid to catalyze the esterification of the free fatty acid.  Since the silica:alumina
(SiO2:Al2O3)of the zeolites affects its acidity
and hydrophobicity, the influence of the SiO2:Al2O3
ratio in these catalysts on the reactions will be analyzed. These catalysts
were screened for highest activity in conversion of fatty acid to FAME and water
tolerance. The effect of water on the reaction was examined at volume compositions
of 5 %, 10%, 20%, and 50%.

Esterification was completed using palmitic
acid to represent the free fatty acids present in the oils. Two types of
zeolite catalysts ? ZSM-5 and Faujasite (Y) zeolites with SiO2:Al2O3
ratios of 80:1 and 30:1 were tested and compared. The reactants included 0.5 g
fatty acid, 10 ml methanol, and 10 mass % catalyst, with reaction temperature
of 65°C, and a duration of 3 hours. The effect of various concentrations of
water on the esterification of palmitic acid using these catalysts, and the
reaction kinetics were evaluated to determine their activity and usability in
the presence of water. Reaction parameters such as rate constants, rates, and
activation energy were obtained.

Preliminary results on the ZSM-5
catalyst with SiO2:Al2O3 ratio of 30:1 shows
the activation energy to be 37.5 KJ/mol which is comparable to literature
results for strong acids on a similar system. The yield of FAME shows nonlinear
dependency on water concentration.