Sustainable Biocatalytic Biodiesel Production: A Thermodynamic Analysis

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandling


  • Günduz Güzel, Danmark
As part of his PhD studies, Gündüz Güzel examined the thermodynamics of reactions involved in biocatalytic biodiesel production processes, with a specific focus on phase equilibria of reactive systems. He carried out the thermodynamic analyses of biocatalytic processes in terms of phase and chemical equilibria as part of his main sustainable biodiesel project.

The transesterification reaction of vegetable oils or fats with an aliphatic alcohol – in most cases methanol or ethanol – yields biodiesel (long-chain fatty acid alkyl esters – FAAE) as the main product in the presence of alkaline/acid catalysts or biocatalysts (free or immobilised lipase enzymes). The reaction by-product glycerol is immiscible with the ester products (FAAE and oils/fats) in addition to the partial miscibility problem of methanol or ethanol with oils/fats. The insoluble parts of alcohol feeds or by-products form emulsion droplets within the reaction media, where continuous stirring operations are applied to improve mass transfer and thus reaction rates. In all other cases, there is a heterogeneous alcohol phase in equilibrium with the ester phase under equilibrium conditions.

The immiscibility and/or miscibility drawbacks of reactive systems involved in transesterification, esterification and hydrolysis reactions are therefore fundamental constraints from which a number of crucial circumstances arise. These include denaturing impacts of insoluble alcohols on biocatalysts; dominating side reactions and/or reverse reactions; inadequate external mass transfer; longer reaction times; and ultimately low target product yields.

The major aims of Gündüz Güzel’s dissertation were to evaluate and subsequently find feasible solutions to the questions that have emerged during corresponding studies performed worldwide.

The PhD degree was completed at the Agro-Biotechnology Science Group, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Science and Technology, Aarhus University. The project was co-financed by the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (HTF) and Aarhus University for the period 2008–2011.

ForlagAarhus University, Faculty of Science and Technology
Antal sider397
Rekvirerende organGraduate School of Science and Technology
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2012

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