Hydrodynamics of Immiscible Mixing of Methanol-Crude Palm Oil in Transesterification Batch Reactor for Biodiesel Production

Yuswan Muharam, Julius Ferdinand

Abstract

The objective of this study is to obtain hydrodynamics of immiscible mixing of methanol-crude palm oil in transesterification batch reactor for biodiesel production. Hydrodynamics similarity between large-scale batch reactors and laboratory reactors in which kinetics study was performed is a key factor in scale-up of a reactor. The batch reactor in this study is stirred by single-stage impeller of rushton turbine which was set from the top of the reactor. The reactor was modeled using computational fluid dynamics concept considering momentum balance of turbulent flow k-ε. The rotational velocity of the impeller was varied and its effect on the mixing was observed. The hydrodynamics parameters observed are the volume fraction of dispersed phase, Reynold number, and the flow pattern. Two different scale bath reactors were simulated and their hydrodynamics parameters were compared. The small one is the laboratory reactor in which the kinetics study was performed, and the large one is pilot-scale reactor to produce one tones biodiesel. The simulation results show that the best design of the pilot-scale reactor possessing 1.257 m in diameter and height with rushton turbine as the impeller and dished-end as the vessel bottom.

Keywords—biodiesel, hydrodynamics, batch reactor, computational fluid dynamics, hydrodynamics, modeling

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