Hielscher – Ultrasonic Transesterification of Oil to Biodiesel Improves Reaction Speed and Yield
Ultrasonication can improve the conversion processing of vegetable oils or animal fats to biodiesel by improved mixing and enhanced chemical activity.
The manufacturing of biodiesel from oils (e.g. soy, canola, sunflower seed) or animal fats, involves the base-catalyzed transesterification of fatty acids with methanol to give the corresponding methyl esters. The conventional esterification reaction in batch processing tends to be slow, and phase separation of the glycerol is time-consuming. Ultrasound allows for the inline processing. Ultrasonication can achieve a biodiesel yield in excess of 99%. Ultrasound reduces the processing time from the conventional 1 to 5 hour batch processing to less than 5 minutes. Ultrasonication can also help to reduce the separation time from 5 to 10 hours (using conventional agitation) to less than 15min using ultrasound. The biodiesel processing does not need much ultrasonic energy. Hielscher is supplies industrial ultrasonic processing systems, worldwide. With ultrasonic processors of up to 16kW power per single device, there is no limit in plant size or processing capacity.
Costs of Ultrasonication
The resulting costs for the ultrasonication vary between 0.2ct and 1.5ct per liter (0.8ct to 6.0ct/gallon) when used in commercial scale.
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