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2014 3rd International Conference on Environment, Chemistry and Biology IPCBEE vol.78 (2014) © (2014) IACSIT Press, Singapore DOI: 10.7763/IPCBEE. 2014. V78. 6

Hydrodynamic-Acoustic-Cavitation for Biodiesel Synthesis

Marcus Franke 1 + , Bernd Ondruschka 1, Patrick Braeutigam 1

1 Institute for Technical Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena,

Lessingstr. 12, 07743 Jena, Germany

Abstract. In the present work, a new and pioneering hybrid technology, called Hydrodynamic-Acoustic- Cavitation (HAC), was established and investigated to proof the feasibility for the transesterification of rapeseed oil with methanol. The reaction takes place in a circular system, powered by a special multiphase pump.. An orifice plate specific parameter (β0) was investigated and an optimal value of 8.4% was found. For other parameters, like ultrasonic power, catalyst concentration, methanol to oil ratio and temperature, design of experiments (DoE) was used and the effects of these parameters were evaluated. Under optimal conditions (β0-8.4%, methanol to oil ratio of 4:1, 125 μm ultrasonic amplitude, 0.5 wt% catalyst and 30 or 45°C) a FAME yield more than 96.5% was obtained in a single-step reaction with a hydraulic residence time in the cavitation reactor of only one second, which is the minimum in the European standard. Furthermore, the synthesized FAME was analyzed and compared with other important properties (viscosity, cold filter plugging point, stability and density), which are regulated by European standards. The HAC process shows a great potential for biodiesel synthesis with good scale-up possibilities and low investments costs.

Keywords: biodiesel synthesis, hydrodynamic cavitation, acoustic cavitation, process intensification 1. Introduction

Alternative fuels derived from biomass are gaining more and more importance and socio-economic interest, due to the depleting fossil fuel resources. These so-called biofuels show a great potential to ensure the mobility of humankind in the next decades or even centuries. For example, biodiesel (FAME – fatty acid methyl ester) is a suitable alternative for fossil diesel. It is a safe, renewable, sustainable, non-toxic, biodegradable and less sulphur containing fuel. Other advantages are the reduction of different emissions like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, particular matter, sulphur oxides, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds [1]-[5].

FAME are produced by the transesterification of animal fats or vegetable oils with methanol or ethanol. Usually, a catalyst (basic or acidic / homogeneous or heterogeneous) is involved in the reaction. Typical feedstocks are palm, rapeseed, and sunflower oil and basic homogeneous catalysts like sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or potassium hydroxide (KOH) are used in industrial biodiesel plants [6]-[9]. Alternative feedstocks like oil from algae, waste and non-edible oils are promising for future application to reduce costs and minimize the socio-economic-conflict with food (“food vs. fuel”) [10]-[13].

The transesterification of fats or oils with an alcohol has three reaction steps, where the first one is limited by mass transport. Triglycerides and alcohols form two immiscible phases and intensive mixing of the reactants is necessary to perform the reaction. Usually, extensive stirring, high temperatures and pressures, long reaction times and high excess of alcohol are used in industrial processes to achieve more than 95% FAME.

To overcome the rising demand of biodiesel and ensure the mobility of humankind, it is necessary to find effective and sustainable technologies for biodiesel production. In the past, different reactor types and

Corresponding author. Tel.: +493641948458; fax: +493641948402.

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