(677d) Kinetics of Triolein Supercritical Transesterification As Model Compound for Biodiesel Synthesis

Liu, J., Syracuse University
Cong, T., Syracuse University
Anitescu, G., Syracuse University

Biodiesel synthesis under supercritical conditions provides both energy and economic benefits over the conventional base catalyzed biodiesel production process.  Development of this new process and technology requires a deep understanding of the mechanisms and kinetics of supercritical transesterification reactions.  In this study, supercritical transesterification of triolein, a model triglyceride compound, with methanol was investigated at 355-400 °C and 15 MPa. The methanol-to-triolein molar ratio was fixed at 9, while the residence time varied from 0.5 to 10 min.  The conversion of triolein and the composition of the reaction intermediates were determined for different reaction conditions.  Free glycerol and bound glycerol fractions in the methyl ester phase were determined by the ASTM method. A three-step kinetic model is proposed to predict concentrations of triolein, diolein and monoolein during reaction. Reactions from diolein to monoolein and from monoolein to glycerol are assumed to be reversible reactions. Reaction rate constants have been determined.  Compared with the simple one-step model, the three-step model better represents intermediate reaction product evolutions which are related to bound glycerol fractions in the biodiesel.  It was found that bound and free glycerol fractions were in the ranges of 0.36 - 0.45 wt % and 0.18 - 0.54 wt %, respectively.

   Conventional  Supercritical
 Temperature  low (around 60 degree C)  high (above 300 degree C)
 Pressure  low (around 0.1 Mpa)  high (10 to 30 Mpa)
 Catalyst  acid/base  no catalyst
 Methanol to oil molar ratio  around 6:1  6:1 to 42:1
 Process  complicated  simple
See more of this Session: Biomass and Biorenewables Processing Under Pressure 

See more of this Group/Topical: Engineering Sciences and Fundamentals