Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.94, No.5, 913-923, 2016
Modelling, simulation, and experimental study of a simulated moving bed reactor for the synthesis of biodiesel
Investigation of the reversible esterification reaction between oleic acid and methanol to produce methyl oleate (biodiesel) catalyzed by Amberlyst 15 ion-exchange resin was carried out in a simulated moving bed reactor (SMBR). SMBR performance was described both experimentally and numerically using a mathematical model under various operating conditions. The model predicted the experimental outcome reasonably well. An improved yield (56%) and purity (42%) of biodiesel could be achieved in an SMBR compared to a fixed-bed reactor (31% yield and 22% purity) by selecting appropriate operating conditions. The effects of various process parameters such as switching time as well as feed and eluent flow rate on SMBR behaviour were also investigated systematically.