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Reactive Extraction for Biodiesel Production: Process Development


Reactive extraction is a method of converting oilseeds directly to biodiesel without the need for intervening crushing, solvent extraction or refining.


In its favour reactive extraction:

  1. Removes the need for drying biomass

  2. Removes the capital and running cost (usually large-scale, centralised) crushing step

  3. Removes the solvent extraction, with advantages similar to point 2 above, but further the use  of hexane is eliminated

  4. Greatly simplifies the process perhaps meaning that the process could be suitable for small-scale distributed production


Against this, the process currently requires too much alcohol. This is a problem as the excess would have to be recycled within the process, probably by distillation, with significant capital and running cost implications.


This process has been studied at Newcastle for a variety of oilseeds for the last 5 years, and now requires development of a whole process, with a view to eliminating the processing problems we have determined. We have a range of possible processing solutions to the main identified problem to try out.


For more details, please contact Prof Adam Harvey or Dr Jon Lee.




 Last modified: 04-Aug-2017