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Obtaining of high value fatty acids from biodiesel derived of physically refined oils

Grant number: 15/01030-6
Support type:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: February 01, 2016 - October 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Technology
Principal Investigator:Danilo Marques de Lima
Grantee:Danilo Marques de Lima
Company:BRP Inovação, Assessoria e Representação Comercial Ltda
City: Ribeirão Preto
Assoc. researchers: Fernanda Ribeiro de Faria ; Hubertt Kenned Elias Junior ; Roseli Aparecida Ferrari


This project aims to develop a process for the vertical integration of the biodiesel production chain, which today operates with excess capacity and low margins. It is proposed to use the biofuel as feedstock to obtain a high-value oleochemical (fatty acid distillate), product widely used in the industries of paints and varnishes, rubber, cosmetics, lubricants, metalworking, etc., and with a market value about 70% higher than biodiesel. It would then be possible for the producer to increase its scale (occupying idle capacity).The process aims to investigate the enzymatic hydrolysis of methyl esters (biodiesel) to yield fatty acids and methanol as a by-product (which returns as a feedstock for the production of biodiesel), and due to the mild conditions of temperature and of low contamination - intrinsic to an enzymatic process - it tends to produce a high quality product at a relatively low investment; considering that fatty acid distillates are traditionally obtained from oils and fats through high-pressure split columns (about 65 atm) and temperature (260 ° C) and distillation, and generate as extremely diluted glycerin by-product, the that demand the use of evaporators - the initial investment cost is quite high. In this project, we intend to study in the laboratory the main variables that ensure efficiency and reaction speed, low operating costs, besides the physical characteristics of the final product required by the market. The study will be complemented by the calculation of the plant investment in three different capacities of industrial plant and an economic feasibility analysis. One of the requirements for the process is that biodiesel is obtained from oils and pretreated by physical refining fats, since the color of the final product is an important parameter (not relevant for biodiesel, but for fatty acids to be obtained). Eight plants in Brazil already use or are in the final phase of the implementation of this route, which reduces the losses in the biodiesel process. Arrangements imagined for commercial production if the project is proven viable would be, depending on the project outputs: a) transfer the technology through a value sharing agreement (royalty payment compensation) with selected producers of biodiesel and /or; b) transfer the technology for an engineering company and/or equipment manufacturer. (AU)