Process intensification technologies in continuous biodiesel production

Zheyan Qiu, Lina Zhao, Laurence Weatherley
Chemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification Volume 49, Issue 4, April 2010, Pages 323-330


As an alternative fuel, biodiesel has been accepted because it is produced from renewable resources. There are some technical challenges facing biodiesel production via transesterification, which include long residence times, high operating cost and energy consumption, and low production efficiency. In recent years, studies on biodiesel synthesis have focused on development of process intensification technologies to resolve some of these issues. This contribution will present a brief review of some of technologies being developed and includes description of some of the types of novel reactors and relevant coupled reaction/separation processes. These technologies enhance reaction rate, reduce molar ratio of alcohol to oil and energy input by intensification of mass transfer and heat transfer and in situ product separation, thus achieve continuous product in a scalable unit. Some of these technologies have been commercialized successfully.

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