Integrated reactive absorption process for synthesis of fatty esters

Anton Alexandru Kiss, Costin Sorin Bildea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Reactive separations using green catalysts offer great opportunities for manufacturing fatty esters, involved in specialty chemicals and biodiesel production. Integrating reaction and separation into one unit provides key benefits such as: simplified operation, no waste, reduced capital investment and low operating costs. This work presents a novel heat-integrated reactive absorption process that eliminates all conventional catalyst related operations, efficiently uses the raw materials and equipment, and considerably reduces the energy requirements for biodiesel production - 85% lower as compared to the base case. Rigorous simulations based on experimental results were carried out using Aspen Plus and Dynamics. Despite the high degree of integration, the process is well controllable using an efficient control structure proposed in this work. The main results are provided for a plant producing 10 ktpy fatty acid methyl esters from methanol and waste vegetable oil with high free fatty acids content, using sulfated zirconia as solid acid catalyst.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-498
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Biofuel
  • Energy integration
  • Green catalyst
  • Plantwide control
  • Reactive absorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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