Enhanced Mixing Towards the Production of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters by In Situ Transesterification of Eucheuma Cottonii: Experimental and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Analysis


  • Nor Irwin Basir School of Chemical Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300, Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia
  • Zainal Ahmad School of Chemical Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300, Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia
  • Lee Keat Teong School of Chemical Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300, Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia
  • Nisha Navainthran School of Chemical Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300, Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia
  • Farzad Ismail School of Aerospace Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300, Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia
  • Dipesh S Patle Department of Chemical Engineering, Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology Allahabad, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, 211004, India




Biodiesel, In Situ Transesterification, Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME), Seaweed, Modelling, Euchema cottonii


Biodiesel is one of the alternative replacements for the conventional fossil fuel-based diesel as the demand for energy is increasing with the increasing world population. The production of biodiesel (also known as fatty acid methyl esters (FAME)) from macroalgae (E. cottonii) is the focus in this study. Conventionally, production of FAME from macroalgae will be carried out through the two-step transesterification processes, which consists of extraction of algal oil (lipids and free fatty acids) and subsequent transesterification step. However, the two-step transesterification method is time and energy consuming processes and thus ways to enhance the production yield of the biodiesel produced are being studied. This paper concentrates on utilization of enhanced mixing technique via in situ transesterification (ISTE) process in FAME production which elucidate the effects of reaction time and mixing intensity. The ISTE reaction was carried out at the ratio of biomass: Methanol (MeOH): Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) (w/v/v) of 1:20:5 and a reaction temperature of 60 °C. The total reaction time for the reaction was 90 minutes, where samples were collected at 30 minutes interval. The increase in reaction time and mixing intensity gave a significant positive impact on the production of FAME. At 90 minutes of reaction time and impeller rotational speed of 900rpm, the maximum amount of methyl palmitate and methyl stearate produced were 0.5729 wt% and 0.0559 wt% respectively. The results of contour of volume fraction (VF) of palmitic acid obtained from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis from the Aspen Fluent Software is in good agreement to the experimental results of the study.


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