We have designed a kinetic model of biodiesel production using Novozym 435 (Nz435) with immobilized Candida antarctica lipase B (CALB) as a catalyst. The scheme assumed reversibility of all reaction steps and imitated phase effects by introducing various molecular species of water and methanol. The global model was assembled from separate reaction blocks analyzed independently. Computer simulations helped to explore behavior of the reaction system under different conditions. It was found that methanolysis of refined oil by CALB is slow, because triglycerides (T) are the least reactive substrates. Conversion to 95% requires 1.5–6 days of incubation depending on the temperature, enzyme concentration, glycerol inhibition, etc. Other substrates, free fatty acids (F), diglycerides (D) and monoglycerides (M), are utilized much faster (1–2h). This means that waste oil is a better feedstock for CALB. Residual enzymatic activity in biodiesel of standard quality causes increase of D above its specification level because of the reaction 2M↔D+G. Filtration or alkaline treatment of the product prior to storage resolves this problem. The optimal field of Nz435 application appears to be decrease of F, M, D in waste oil before the conventional alkaline conversion. Up to 30-fold reduction of F-content can be achieved in 1–2h, and the residual enzyme (if any) does not survive the following alkaline treatment.
Journal of Molecular Catalysis B: Enzymatic, 2013, Vol 85-86, Issue 1-2, p. 156-168