Vacuum Evaporator and Methanol Recovery

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Vacuum Evaporation Process for Biodiesel Dehydration

Industrial vacuum evaporators are utilized in several unit operations in the production of Biodiesel Fuel, such as the methanol stripping and methyl ester dehydration steps.

Most biodiesel in the US is made from vegetable oils, such as soybean but also from waste cooking oil, animal fats, and fatty acids, by reacting with methanol in the presence of a catalyst. The chemical process known as transesterification, breaks down the triglycerides into methyl ester (which is the bio-diesel) and glycerol, where these two streams are separated by decanting or centrifuge. To force the reaction to completion, an excess amount of methanol is used, which is then stripped from each stream using a vacuum evaporation system.

The methyl ester stream is further processed and then many times water washed to remove any remaining catalyst, soap, salts, methanol, or free glycerol from the biodiesel.

At this point the biodiesel contains a small amount of water which must be removed to meet ASTM D 6751-02 requirements. A vacuum evaporator is used for this step.

Wintek has extensive experience in flash vacuum evaporation and vacuum evaporator design. We've been designing industrial 
vacuum pump systems since 1986. We can help you achieve an efficient and reliable design for your biodiesel plant. 


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