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Published: Kem. Ind. 63 (1-2) (2014) 19–31
Paper reference number: KUI-43/2012
Paper type: Review
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Chemical Engineering Aspects of Biodiesel Production I. Biofuels, Biodiesel Properties and Production Technology Fundamentals

D. Sinčić


The common industrial process of biodiesel production is a sequence of particular unit operations starting with raw material preparation, followed by transesterification reaction stage and ending with reaction mixture separation and treatment. The main product is biodiesel of prescribed quality while the treatment of glycerol and salt containing phase is carried out so that the by-products obtained maximize profitability of the entire undertaking. The biodiesel production process is often analysed by people of various profiles without proper engineering backgrounds, so that qualitative descriptions are prevailing in the literature. Opposite to that approach, promoted in this paper are the chemical engineering aspects of biodiesel production technology. That approach has not attracted adequate attention so far despite the eminently chemical engineering nature rather than the chemical nature of that process. This will be elaborated in a three-part series. In this, the first one, the necessity of replacing fossil fules with renewable fuels is explained and the biodiesel production put into that context. In particular, the characteristics of industrial biodiesel production are delineated along with the physical and chemical characteristics of homogeneously catalysed transesterification. The systematic approach to the scale-up procedure is described as well.

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chemical engineering, biodiesel, biodiesel properties, biofuels, greenhouse gases, biofuels generations, advanced biofuel technologies, scale-up procedures