Date of Completion

8-24-2012

Embargo Period

9-4-2012

Open Access

Campus Access

Abstract

Alternative renewable fuels are becoming increasingly important due to thinning petroleum reserves and the negative environmental impact of exhaust gases from fossil fuel-driven machines. Numerous studies have shown that biodiesel is a promising alternative to diesel engine fuels and substantial effort should be put into developing biodiesel fuel which corresponds to the properties and performance characteristics of hydrocarbon-based diesel fuel. Research was performed in two distinct aspects. Firstly, the injector design for a multiphase liquid/liquid laminar flow reactor/separator used in biodiesel production was modified to incorporate a distributed methanol injection strategy. The novel injector design was found to increase triglyceride conversion while maintaining high separation efficiency for glycerol. This in turn eliminated an additional time consuming glycerol separation step while ensuring ASTM quality biodiesel production. Secondly, a pilot-scale continuous biodiesel production plant was commissioned and brought to operating capacity. The system was tested to ensure desired operation and troubleshooting was performed on various operating components. Design modifications were made on various components of the system to improve overall system performance and suggestions were made regarding future use of equipment.

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