CFD model of single-mode microwave – assisted biodiesel production via transesterification reaction of refined palm stearin using one-way coupling method in a batch stirred-tank reactor

Author(s): Ahmad Fathur Muhtadin, Phanida Wanking, Tawiwan Kangsadan
Chemical and Process Engineering Program (CPE), The Sirindhorn International Thai-German Graduate School of Engineering (TGGS), King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB), 1518 Pracharat 1 Road, Wongsawang Bangsue, Bangkok 10800, Thailand
International Journal of Smart Grid and Clean Energy, vol. 10, no. 1, January 2021: pp.21-32
ISSN: 2315-4462 (Print)
ISSN: 2373-3594 (Online)
Digital Object Identifier: 10.12720/sgce.10.1.21-32

Abstract: Microwave can provide the direct heat without any losses to the chemical reaction. Chemicals having the dielectric property, especially the alcohol that used to produce the biodiesel, can absorb the microwave radiation and cause molecules to vibrate and generate the heat. As a result, the reaction rate can be accelerated by nearly 4.5 times. Refined palm stearin (RPS) as the by-product of crude palm oil (CPO) production is an alternative raw material to produce biodiesel due to its lower cost. However, the feasibility of biodiesel production from RPS with single-mode microwave assistance requires investigations into the influence of physical-chemical properties including operating conditions to the momentum, heat, and mass transport. Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) simulation of single-mode microwave – assisted biodiesel production from RPS and methanol in the presence of NaOH-derivative catalyst using ANSYS FLUENT and HFSS programs is presented in this study. The momentum profile of the stirrer was predicted by using Multi Reference Frame (MRF) method, while the temperature profile of the batch reactor due to microwave heating was also investigated by One-way Coupling method. Then, the concentration profile was obtained from the beginning of reaction until 600 s via the three-step reversible transesterification reaction mechanism.

Keywords: Biodiesel, transesterification, single-mode microwave, Refined Palm Stearin (RPS), Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD)
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