Methyl stearate transesterification with n-Butanol: Process intensification using distillation with external side reactors

Venkata K S Pappu, Aspi Kolah, Carl T. Lira, Dennis J. Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Fatty acid butyl esters (FABE) are commercially important chemicals used in a wide range of applications such as lubricants, emulsifiers, detergents, and as biofuel constituents. An alternate approach to direct esterification of fatty acids for producing higher alcohol esters is to first make the fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) via traditional base catalysis and then transesterify FAME with other alcohols using heterogeneous catalysts to produce the desired esters. In previous work, we have characterized kinetics of methyl stearate transesterification with n-butanol using Amberlyst 15; this reaction is slow at 90°C even with a very large excess of butanol. Above 90°C or at high catalyst loadings, ether formation takes place, liberating water which leads to hydrolysis of the esters. Conventional reactive distillation will likely be uneconomical for this reaction system because of the slow reaction rate and temperature limitations. We present here a study that evaluates the potential of carrying out reactive distillation in a column with external side reactors for continuous transesterification of FAME with n-butanol. Process simulation using AspenPlus describes column performance as a function of operating conditions, the number of side reactors utilized, and location of side draws and re-entry points in the column. The column configuration that maximizes conversion of the methyl ester to its butyl counterpart is described.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication11AIChE - 2011 AIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2011
Event2011 AIChE Annual Meeting, 11AIChE - Minneapolis, MN, United States
Duration: Oct 16 2011Oct 21 2011

Other

Other2011 AIChE Annual Meeting, 11AIChE
CountryUnited States
CityMinneapolis, MN
Period10/16/1110/21/11

Profile

Stearates
1-Butanol
Transesterification
Butenes
Distillation
Esters
Fatty acids
Fatty Acids
Alcohols
Butanols
Catalysts
Biofuels
Reentry
Distillation columns
Detergents
Esterification
Ether
Catalysis
Reaction rates
Lubricants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)

Cite this

Methyl stearate transesterification with n-Butanol : Process intensification using distillation with external side reactors. / Pappu, Venkata K S; Kolah, Aspi; Lira, Carl T.; Miller, Dennis J.

11AIChE - 2011 AIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings. 2011.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Pappu, VKS, Kolah, A, Lira, CT & Miller, DJ 2011, Methyl stearate transesterification with n-Butanol: Process intensification using distillation with external side reactors. in 11AIChE - 2011 AIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings. 2011 AIChE Annual Meeting, 11AIChE, Minneapolis, MN, United States, 10/16/11.
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