(617x) A Parametric Study of Biodiesel Production Under Ultrasounds

Authors: 
Kaliaguine, S., Department of Chemical Engineering, Laval University
Biodiesel, a vegetable oil-derived fuel, can be used as a partial or complete substitute to diesel oil. The main argument for its usage in internal combustion engines is its net CO2 balance which is considerably reduced compared to diesel fuel of fossil origin. A systematic study of ultrasound continuous biodiesel production using canola oil was conducted in the presence of methanol and sodium methoxide as catalyst. Effects of various reaction parameters such as residence time, catalyst concentration, reaction temperature, ultrasounds amplitude and power, methanol/oil molar ratio were analyzed. Fatty acid methyl esters were produced rapidly by using ultrasound assisted transesterification. In typical conditions (35°C) conversion to FAME higher than 80% could be reached at residence time as low as 20s. The parametric study allowed to establish that the effect of ultrasound wave on transesterification reaction rate is localized in a very small volume surrounding the sonotrode tip. This unprecedented conclusion has significant consequences for the design of the large scale continuous flow biodiesel production reactor.