Kinetic Study of Catalytic Decarboxylation/Decarbonylation of Triglycerides to Fuel-like Hydrocarbons
AIChE Annual Meeting
Monday, November 14, 2016 - 10:00am to 12:30pm
The use of algae to capture CO2 from coal-fired power plants constitutes an interesting solution to the necessary innovation in the field of carbon capture and utilization, particularly because algae can intermediate the conversion of these emissions into valuable fuels and chemicals. Although a renewable fuel, biodiesel (fatty acid methyl esters) possesses a high oxygen content which renders it less than ideal as a transportation fuel. Moreover, current methods to deoxygenate algae lipids, such as hydrotreating, are costly due to the requirement for high pressure hydrogen. Decarboxylation/decarbonylation represents an advantageous alternative because the process produces second generation fuels without the costly requirements of hydrotreating. This project aims to lay the groundwork for kinetic studies of the catalytic conversion of pure triolein (a model compound of the extracted lipid feed) in dodecane to optimize the catalytic process through which algae oil is converted to fuels. The nature of these studies requires the use of a system optimized to limit diffusion limitations and act with negligible transport resistances at steady-state. These properties are dependent upon reactor and particle size, catalyst dilution, and the nature of the reaction (heat effects, equilibrium conversion, vapor-liquid equilibrium). Establishing the kinetic parameters of this reaction, such reaction orders and activation energies, can aid in the identification of the kinetic pathways that afford high product yields.