A simplified kinetic and mass transfer modelling of the thermal hydrolysis of vegetable oils

Hector Alexander Forero-Hernandez, Mark Nicholas Jones, Bent Sarup, Jens Abildskov, Anker Degn Jensen, Gürkan Sin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This work presents a combined modelling approach to investigate the kinetics and masstransfer effects on the hydrolysis of vegetable oils under subcritical conditions. The primary purpose of this simplified model is to interpret experimental data collected from typical batch tests and to estimate parameters for the proposed model. Due to its heterogeneous nature, the hydrolysis reaction is affected not only by the chemical kinetics but also by the rate of mass transfer between the oil and water as well as their specific contact area in this two phase emulsion. Considering these properties, a model was developed and evaluated by comparing the results with experimental data from literature. The model included among others the mass transfer coefficient as a function of operation and process variables, e.g. agitation speed, temperature, pressure, density and viscosity. Thereafter, uncertainty analysis was performed to assess the accuracy of estimated parameters and model predictions. The parameter estimation results showed that while the parameter estimates were accurate, however the pairwise correlation between estimates were significant. This indicates that the available experimental data is not fit to uniquely identify the mass and kinetic parameters requiring further and better design optimal experiment. The uncertainty analysis showed that model prediction uncertainty due to parameter estimation errors were rather negligible. Therefore it is recommended that the model be used for process analysis and improvement accompanied by Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis. Since the lack of experimental data is a crucial issue in the hydrolysis of vegetable oils, this model-based analysis of data is of substantial value to provide necessary information for detailed modeling and characterization of the process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 27th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering (ESCAPE 27)
EditorsAntonio Espuña, Moisès Graells, Luis Puigjaner
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)9780444639653
ISBN (Electronic)9780444639707
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event27th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 1 Oct 20175 Oct 2017
Conference number: 27


Conference27th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering
Internet address


  • Vegetable oils
  • Fatty acids
  • Kinetic modeling
  • Uncertainty analysis

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