Students at Worcester Polytechnic University, USA, have converted vegetable oil into biodiesel using a Globe jacketed reactor system.
Professor William Clark said the base-catalysed process, which used methanol and potassium hydroxide, is neither simple nor particularly safe.
Undergraduates partaking in the investigation had to use a computer-controlled mini pilot plant that was capable of safely running the reaction at different temperatures.
The Globe reactor system from Syrris provided the students with the necessary platform to perform the experiment.
The catalyst is generated at a controlled temperature in the first reactor, pumped across to a second reactor which contains heated vegetable oil that begins the biodiesel conversion process.
“Globe enables the biodiesel reaction to be performed under computer control, eliminating manual transfer of reagents and allowing the experiment to be carried out safely, which is paramount,” stated Clark.
Working alongside experts from Syrris, the team designed a small chemical factory consisting of two Globe reactors and a Globe master module which enabled the integration of balances, pumps, temperature probes and a pH meter.
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