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Continuous biodiesel production and refining in a dedicated bench scale unit for mobile biodiesel application

Continuous biodiesel production and refining in a dedicated bench scale unit for mobile biodiesel application

Continuous production and refining of biodiesel (FAME) using a lab scale bench scale unit was explored. The unit consist of three major units i) a reactor consisting of a Continuous Centrifugal Contactor Separator (CCCS), ii) a washing unit consisting of a mixer and settler and iii) a drying unit. The CCCS device, a unique feature of the unit, is a nice example of process intensification as it combines both the synthesis and the separation of the crude biodiesel and glycerol in a single device. The concept was demonstrated using the methanolysis of sunflower oil using sodium methoxide as a catalyst. After reaction/separation in the CCCS, the FAME stream was washed with water to remove the excess of methanol and catalyst. The FAME/water dispersion was separated in a column before subsequently dried in a bubble column using dry air. The dried FAME satisfies the international biodiesel specification.

Picure in abstract