Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 171, Issue 5, pp 1118–1127 | Cite as

Enzymatic Biodiesel Synthesis in Semi-Pilot Continuous Process in Near-Critical Carbon Dioxide

  • Myunggu Lee
  • Dohoon Lee
  • Jaehoon Cho
  • Sangyong KimEmail author
  • Chulhwan ParkEmail author


A semi-pilot continuous process (SPCP) for enzymatic biodiesel synthesis utilizing near-critical carbon dioxide (NcCO2) as the reaction medium was developed with the aim of reducing the reaction time and alleviating the catalyst inhibition by methanol. Biodiesel synthesis was evaluated in both lab-scale and semi-pilot scale reactors (batch and continuous reactors). In a SPCP, the highest conversion (∼99.9 %) in four and a half hours was observed when three-step substrate (methanol) addition (molar ratio [oil/methanol] = 1:1.3) was used and the reaction mixture containing enzyme (Lipozyme TL IM, 20 wt.% of oil) was continuously mixed (agitation speed = 300 rpm) at 30 °C and 100 bar in a CO2 environment. The biodiesel produced from canola oil conformed to the fuel standard (EU) even without additional downstream processing, other than glycerol separation and drying.


Biodiesel Transesterification Lipase Near-critical carbon dioxide Enzyme inhibition Semi-pilot continuous process 



This work was funded by the Industrial Strategic Technology Development Program (project number: 10028375) of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), Korea and by the Basic Research Program of the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH). This research was also supported by the Research Grant from Kwangwoon University in 2013 and 2013 Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (Dr. M. Lee) of National Academy of Agricultural Science, Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea. The semi-pilot continuous NcCO2 reactor was provided by Hanil Corporation, Korea.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringKwangwoon UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Green Process and Material R&D GroupKorea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH)CheonanRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Chemical Safety Division, National Academy of Agricultural ScienceRural Development Administration (RDA)SuwonRepublic of Korea

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