Thermal risk assessment of vegetable oil epoxidation


This article describes thermal risk assessment of vegetable oil epoxidation by peroxycarboxylic acid. It is a liquid–liquid system where several exothermic reactions occur. Acetic acid was used as the carboxylic acid, and oleic acid was chosen as a model molecule because it is a common fatty acid in the triglyceride molecule. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and accelerating rate calorimetry (ARC) were used to determine safety criteria such as the final temperature (T Final), T D24, and time to maximum rate under adiabatic condition (TMRad). We found that the calculation of TMRad based on DSC data could be incorrect when assuming a zero-order kinetic reaction. By using a process temperature of 70 °C, the extrapolated final temperature was found to be 544 °C from DSC experiments, T D24 was estimated to 20 °C based on ARC experiment, and TMRad was calculated to 164 min from ARC experiments. These criteria indicate the process can lead to a thermal runaway. Therefore, we recommend that vegetable oil epoxidation by peroxycarboxylic acid should not be performed in batch reactor, but in semi-batch mode.

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This work was supported by the Academy of Finland and the European Regional Development Fund (INTERREG IVA Grant Number 4274). The authors are particularly grateful to Jean-Pierre Hébert for his contribution to the experiment.

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Correspondence to Sébastien Leveneur.

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Leveneur, S., Estel, L. & Crua, C. Thermal risk assessment of vegetable oil epoxidation. J Therm Anal Calorim 122, 795–804 (2015).

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  • Time to maximum rate under adiabatic condition TMRad
  • MTSR
  • Adiabatic temperature rise
  • Thermal risk assessment
  • Green chemistry