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Micro-Reactor in LTCC Technology for Biodiesel Production
Keywords: LTCC, Biofuel, Transesterification
Biodiesel is a biodegradable derivative fuel obtained from natural renewable resources. It can be achieved by different processes such as: cracking, esterification or transesterification and can be produced from animal fats or vegetal oils. There are dozens of vegetal species in Brazil that can be used, such as “mamona”, “dendê” (palm), sunflower, “babaçu”, peanut, tame nut and soy, amongst others. Transesterification is the most used process for biodiesel production. It consists of a chemical reaction of vegetal oils or animal fats with ethanol or methanol alcohol, stimulated by a catalyser. This chemical reaction produces: glycerin a by-product with diverse applications in chemical industry and esters of low viscosity for biofuel applications. This process reveal several disadvantages as: high residence time, batch process and other by-products as soap (compelling the introduction of separation processes), glycerin of low pureness and high alcohol/oil ratio. Therefore, in order to relieve these problems it is necessary the introduction of process Intensification, which is related to processes with high yield, low processing time, safer and environmentally benign. A new route of production with emphasis in process intensification, starts to be explored by means of Microtechnology applications to Chemical processes. Microreactors have been widely explored in diverse reactions of organic synthesis and more recently in the production of biodiesel, presenting interesting process characteristics. The scope of this work is to present the design and fabrication of microreactors in LTCC technology applied to Biodiesel fabrication using transesterification process and a homogeneous catalyst. CFD simulation of the devices objectifying the attainment of parameters such as pressure drop and residence time is presented. The fabricated devices had been characterized for determination of pressure drop, residence time. Further characterizations of biodiesel produced for determination of the conversion rate through chromatographic techniques, are also presented.
Mario R. Gongora-Rubio, Senior Researcher
Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas do Estado de São Paulo
São Paulo 05508-901,
Brazil


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