Ultrasound-Assisted Biodiesel Production in microreactors

Document Type: Full article

Authors

Department of Chemical Engineering, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran

Abstract

The ultrasound-assisted (UA) soybean oil methanolysis using KOH as a catalyst was studied at different reaction conditions in a microreactor. Box–Behnken experimental design, with three variables, was performed and the effects of three reaction variables i.e. reaction temperature, catalyst concentration and the methanol-to-oil molar ratio on fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) yield were evaluated by method of analysis of variance (ANOVA) and multiple regression. A quadratic polynomial model was obtained to predict the methyl ester yield. A yield of 97.1% for methyl ester was obtained at the deduced optimal conditions: reaction temperature of 47 °C, KOH catalyst concentration of 1.29% (w/w) and methanol-to-oil molar ratio of 6:1. Validation experiments confirmed the validity of the predicted model. At the optimal operation condition for the ultrasonic process, a higher yield of methyl esters was obtained in comparison with that of the non-ultrasonic layout. The results show that UA transesterification in microreactor minimizes the reaction time and temperature, alcohol-to-oil molar ratio as well as energy consumption.

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