Amidation Reaction System: Kinetic Studies and Improvement by Product Removal

ACS Omega. 2021 Nov 5;6(45):30451-30464. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.1c03843. eCollection 2021 Nov 16.


The amidation reaction to produce fatty acid diethanolamide is an important unit process to produce surfactants from renewable sources rather than from petroleum sources. Amidation is a liquid-phase reaction between diethanolamine with a fatty acid methyl ester. Since the reaction is reversible, the conversion is limited by equilibrium, the side product being methanol, which is volatile. Hence, mass transfer effects need to be considered in the interpretation of kinetic data. Further, the elimination of methanol can help to shift the reaction forward. Thus, the process has the potential for process intensification. This paper provides a batch reactor model to interpret the simulation data and includes mass transfer effects analyzed using a dimensionless mass transfer parameter (αlg). Using values of this parameter greater than 4 leads to an equilibrium model where the methanol partial pressure in the bulk gas approaches that at the interface. Using this model, the kinetic and equilibrium parameters for the amidation reaction were determined using experimental data in the first part of this study. The experimental data for fitting the parameters are obtained from a closed batch reactor operated with an initial pressure of 1 bar and a temperature range of 70-80 °C. The second part of the paper examines two process-intensification concepts-viz., inert gas and vacuum stripping of methanol from the reactor-and simulates the process in the form of mass-transfer-based models. Improvement in the final conversion was demonstrated in both approaches, and predictions of the vacuum stripping model are in good agreement with the experimental results. Thus, the developed vacuum stripping model is useful for accurate analysis and design of a reactor with vacuum stripping. The novelty of the work is obtaining rate and reaction equilibrium constants, enthalpy of reaction, and liquid activity coefficient for amidation, which have no prior reporting, and providing the viability of options for side product removal. The applied modeling approaches and the experimental facilities and methods are established.

PMID:34805675 | PMC:PMC8600525 | DOI:10.1021/acsomega.1c03843


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