Comprehensive kinetic studies of acidic oil continuous esterification by cation-exchange resin in fixed bed reactors
Biodiesel produced by esterification from molar ratio of methanol to free fatty acid (FFA) as 25:1 in presence of triglyceride was carried out with cation-exchange resin as a heterogeneous catalyst in three different scales of fixed bed reactors from minireactor (6.8mm×110mm) to pilot scale reactor (70mm×1260mm) at 338K. The kinetic study of esterification was undertaken in terms of pseudo-homogeneous mechanism and performed as a first order reaction with elimination of the solid-liquid internal and external mass transfer resistances. Moreover, a kinetic model of FFA esterification was developed to illustrate the relationship between the FFA conversion and the catalyst bed height of fixed bed reactor. The model was also suitable for various resins in fixed bed reactor. The theoretical predictions were in agreement with the experimental data with root mean square (RMS) errors <10.
Kinetic model; Continuous esterification; Cation-exchange resin; Fixed bed reactor; Free fatty acid (FFA)