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Intensified epoxidation of vegetable oils and their derivatives


Renewable resource-based materials have attracted much attention due to increasing concerns over depletion of fossil fuels and the negative environmental impacts of fossil fuel sources. Vegetable oils and other triglyceride-containing feedstocks are considered to be a renewable and sustainable source of bio-polymers, and help to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels and the amount of solid waste generated from petroleum-based plastics. Epoxidised triglycerides have a potential market as they can be used as plasticizers, epoxy resin monomers and intermediates for polyol production etc., or they can be further modified with well-defined nano-sized inorganic clusters to enhance polymer properties such as thermosetting, flammability, etc.


Currently, the epoxidation of vegetable oil is carried out industrially in stirred tank reactors. This has several disadvantages including mass transfer limitation, low space-time productivity and dangers of explosion due to the high exothermic reaction. It was predicted that the reaction time could be reduced significantly, e.g. from hours to minutes, when increasing the reaction temperature. Therefore, the aim of this research is to integrate the development of the reactor design and operating protocols to enhance temperature control and mass transfer in order to increase
productivity.

 

For more information please contact Dr Anh Phan.

 

 

 

 Last modified: 02-Jun-2017