METHODS FOR THE DESIGN AND CHARACTERIZATION OF COMBINED, MICROWAVE-ULTRASOUND BIODIESEL REACTORS

Open Access
Author:
Verlinich, Matthew Michael
Graduate Program:
Engineering Science
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 02, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Bernhard R Tittmann, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • microwave
  • ultrasound
  • biodiesel
  • design
  • reactor
  • sonochemistry
Abstract:
Biodiesel is currently one of the world’s leading biofuels. It has many advantages over other biofuels including: compatibility with current infrastructure, energy density, decreased emissions, increased lubricity, and potential for extremely dense, non-competitive, biomass farming. However, a number of challenges associated with biodiesel manufacturing limit widespread production. Previous work has established the benefits of ultrasonic mixing and microwave heating in the production of biodiesel, but an integrated system has yet to come to fruition. This paper is a chronicle of the experimental set-ups and analysis tools which have been developed, as of January 2010, while in pursuit of a commercial system. The primary deliverable of this paper is a list of recommendations for the next stage of development on a pilot-scale, continuous flow, multi-energy biodiesel reactor. The experimental set-ups examined in this document include two, multi-frequency ultrasonic bath style reactors and two, combined microwave-ultrasound reactors. These systems were integrate and analyzed using National Instruments, LabView programs written exclusively for this project. The analysis methods used to evaluate the reactors include Fricke Dosimetry; Calorimetry; frequency response sweeps; ANSYS Workbench modal analysis; ImageJ optical analysis; Gas Chromatography; and measurements of temperature, pressure, voltage, and power versus time.