The aim of this work was to evaluate fatty acid methyl esters (FAME or biodiesel) microfiltration dynamics during transesterification of rapeseed oil using a ceramic membrane of 0.2 -m size pore. Moreover, ternary phase diagrams were studied and applied for glycerol separation. At the beginning, membrane filtration causes TG (Triglycerides) retention, allowing methanol to cross through the membrane. However, a low methanol to oil molar ratio allows TG to cross the membrane. After this stage, the predominant blend is constituted by a one-phase FAME and TG mixture. Finally, glycerol can be completely retained in all the evaluated trials. Regarding FAME/TG/methanol system, immiscibility between TG and FAME is achieved at 73 wt% in FAME, 12 wt% in methanol and 15% wt in TG. This is the critical composition of the non-polar phase for obtaining an efficient FAME/TG separation during transesterification reaction. Regarding TG/glycerol/methanol system, TG retention is not a problem if TG concentration exceeds 10 wt%.
- Ceramic membrane
- Fatty acid methyl ester