Simulação e otimização do processo de produção de carbonato de glicerol
Pereira, José Henrique Negri
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Sustainable chemistry is a research and engineering area that encourages the development of products and processes that reduce the use and generation of toxic substances where technological approaches to prevent pollution and reducing the consumption of non-renewable resources are of high importance. Given this, the production of biofuels has a prominent role, as it has numerous benefits, including renewable production, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and social and regional development. Among biofuels, biodiesel has a high potential for replacing part of fossil fuel derivatives such as diesel. The production of biodiesel through the transesterification of renewable raw materials, such as vegetable oils and animal fats, which in the presence of a catalyst reacts chemically with an alcohol, is increasing quickly due to strong government policies and incentives. However, the increase in the production of biodiesel generates a corresponding growth in the production of glycerol. Glycerol is a valuable by-product in the production of biodiesel by transesterification and although there are markets for it, a significant expansion in its availability would destabilize it. Thus, the purification of glycerol as well as the conversion of glycerol into products with added value, such as glycerol carbonate, has achieved increasing interest in recent years. Glycerol carbonate is a key and multifunctional compound used as a solvent, additive, monomer and chemical intermediate. This study proposes to analyze the production of glycerol carbonate through reactive distillation, where the basic catalytic transesterification of purified glycerol occurs. For this, the Aspen Plus® software was used to perform the simulation of the chemical plant and the modeling was based on the NRTL thermodynamic model, Wilson's thermodynamic model and first order rate kinetics in relation to dimethyl carbonate (DMC) and glycerol and dependent on the concentration of catalyst, which is potassium carbonate (K2CO3). The proposed and optimized flowchart showed a production capacity of 3757.9 kg of glycerol carbonate per day with an energy performance of at least 7% better than any other reported in the studied literature.
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