Simulation process of biodiesel production over heterogeneous catalysts

Mian Xu, Karen Wilson, Jhuma Sadhukhan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Biodiesel production is a very promising area due to the relevance that it is an environmental-friendly diesel fuel alternative to fossil fuel derived diesel fuels. Nowadays, most industrial applications of biodiesel production are performed by the transesterification of renewable biological sources based on homogeneous acid catalysts, which requires downstream neutralization and separation leading to a series of technical and environmental problems. However, heterogeneous catalyst can solve these issues, and be used as a better alternative for biodiesel production. Thus, a heuristic diffusion-reaction kinetic model has been established to simulate the transesterification of alkyl ester with methanol over a series of heterogeneous Cs-doped heteropolyacid catalysts. The novelty of this framework lies in detailed modeling of surface reacting kinetic phenomena and integrating that with particle-level transport phenomena all the way through to process design and optimisation, which has been done for biodiesel production process for the first time. This multi-disciplinary research combining chemistry, chemical engineering and process integration offers better insights into catalyst design and process intensification for the industrial application of Cs-doped heteropolyacid catalysts for biodiesel production. A case study of the transesterification of tributyrin with methanol has been demonstrated to establish the effectiveness of this methodology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable engineerring forum conference
Subtitle of host publicationtopical conference at the 2008 AIChE Spring National meeting
Place of PublicationNew York, NY (US)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-1-60560-226-4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event2008 AIChE Spring National Meeting - New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: 6 Apr 200810 Apr 2008


Meeting2008 AIChE Spring National Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans, LA

Bibliographical note

Abstracts of papers of the ACS, 235, 99034.


  • biodiesel production
  • heterogeneous catalysts
  • reaction kinetics
  • internal diffusion


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