With increasing demand for biofuels Chemoprojekt, a.s. has been working on BIODIESEL (FAME – Fatty Acids Methyl Esters) production projects for last 15 years. Chemoprojekt, a.s. concludes a licence and know-how agreement enabling Chemoprojekt, a.s. to design and construct vegetable oil and biodiesel production units on the basis of the modern technology.
Continuous catalytic transesteriﬁcation of triglycerides in the vegetable oils (rapeseed oil or other) by methanol.
Basic raw materials for production of FAME
- Vegetable oil (new, used, non-edible, etc.)
- Catalysts – KOH, NaOH, MeONa
- Fatty Acids
Variety of technologies
- The range of production capacity 10 – 250 kt/year
MeONa (Sodium Methanolate) – liquid, easy dosing and manipulation, mild reaction conditions, reactions are selective to desired products
- Recycling of used MeOH
- Safe and environmental technology
- Capacities of the designed units 10- 250 kt FAME/year
- Technology according to hi-tech licence
Quality of FAME is regulated by these standards:
- EU standard EN 14214
- US standard ASTM D-6751
- other national standards
The transesteriﬁcation reaction is accomplished continuously, using three reactors in series operating under mild conditions (i.e.: Temperature = 55°C and Atmospheric Pressure).
The transesteriﬁcation reaction can be presented as follows:
| (catalyst) |
CH-O-CO-R + 3CH3OH → CH-OH + 3CH3-O-CO-R
(Triglycerides) (Methanol) (Glycerol) (Methylester)
Reaction heat is negligible, and a heat supply from outside is necessary in order to keep the reaction mixture at the required temperature. Raw material is continuously fed to the three reaction steps consisting of pump, reaction vessel and relevant piping. The appropriate amount of methanol and catalyst are continuously dosed.
Methanol is fed to the reaction unit in a proper excess with respect to the stoichiometric amount with the aim to maximize the transesteriﬁcation yield and to limit as much as possible the side reaction of saponiﬁcation. Separately obtained glycerine, relatively rich in soap, is directly sent to the glycerine treatment unit. Light phase outgoing from the head of the reactor is transferred to the second reaction loop, after the addition of methanol and catalyst. Working conditions and the reaction volume of the second reactor are identical to the ﬁrst reactor. Light phase coming from the top of the second reactor is transferred to the third reactor, with previous addition of methanol and catalyst. Reaction mixture leaving from the third reactor containing the main product (methylester), the excess of methanol and the glycerine (reaction by-product) and a limited amount of soaps is sent to the methylester puriﬁcation section.
Methylester / Glycerine Separation
Reaction mixture coming from the third reactor and containing the product (methylester), the excess of methanol and the glycerine (reaction by-product) as well as the limited amount of soaps (formed by side-reaction of saponiﬁcation of methylester), is transferred to the gravity separator after a partial removal of the contained methanol. Glycerine (containing glycerine, part of the excess of methanol and almost the total amount of soaps) is sent to the glycerine treatment unit. The methylester phase coming from separator contains glycerine traces, soaps and catalyst; these impurities are removed through washing with water added up with citric acid. Methylester has to be dried to remove the remaining water and methanol.
The product- methylester is transferred to storage through the pump, after being cooled down to 30° – 40°C.
Vent Condensation And Recovery Unit
The unit is designed in order to condense all emergency vents from the upstream production unit.
The rectiﬁed and condensed methanol is send to the storage tank.
The purpose of the treatment is the acidiﬁcation of the raw glycerine stream, so to neutralize the residual catalyst and to split the soaps formed during transesteriﬁcation. Subsequently, the fatty acids derived from soap splitting are separated (for further acid esteriﬁcation) and the pH of the puriﬁed glycerine is ﬁnally adjusted. Distilllation unit on pharma quality of glycerine is another option we can provide to our customers.
Currently Chemoprojekt, a.s. aims its activities to 2nd generation biofuels. It is possible to produce 2nd generation biofuels from wood, agriculture, forest as well as from municipal waste. Chemoprojekt, a.s. has been recently preparing pilot biomass gasiﬁcation power plant and other projects related to 2nd generation biofuels production.
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