Process modelling of palm oil transesterification process for biodiesel production pilot plant

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University of Dar es Salaam
Mathematical model describing the transesterification of palm oil for biodiesel production in a Continuously Stirred Tank Reactor (CSTR) is presented. The effect of varying temperature from 50 to 70 °C and impeller speed ranging from 150 rpm to 700 rpm were respectively investigated on the mixing and hydrodynamic behaviour of a CSTR using computational fluid dynamics software, ANSYS Fluent 12.1. A mathematical technique to describe the turbulent flow behaviour in the reactor was used based on the conservation of mass, momentum, energy and species. Variation of mixing intensity and the reactor temperature showed that the zones of higher reaction rates are found near the impeller tip diameter. On the other hand, simulation and optimization of the process used for the production of biodiesel from palm oil under homogenous alkali catalysis was carried out using Aspen Plus software. The biodiesel purity as high as 96.7 % was obtained with the molar ratio of methanol to palm oil of 6:1, catalyst amount 1.0 % in weight, reaction temperature of 60 °C, and a reaction time of 120 min. The model results were validated against published literature data and a good correlation between model results and experimental data was observed. The model can potentially be used as design and optimization tool for CSTR in biodiesel production.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF TP359.B46S44)
Biodiesel fuels, Palm oil
Selemani, A.(2014).Process modelling of palm oil transesterification process for biodiesel production pilot plant, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam.