Mechanistic Modelling of Biodiesel Production using a Liquid Lipase Formulation

Jason Anthony Price, Björn Hofmann, Vanessa T. L. Silva, Mathias Nordblad, John M. Woodley, Jakob Kjøbsted Huusom

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In this article, a kinetic model for the enzymatic transesterification of rapeseed oil with methanol using CalleraTM Trans L (a liquid formulation of a modified Thermomyces lanuginosus lipase) was developed from first principles. We base the model formulation on a Ping- Pong Bi-Bi mechanism. Methanol inhibition, along with the interfacial and bulk concentrations of the enzyme was also modeled. The model was developed to describe the effect of different oil compositions, as well as different water, enzyme, and methanol concentrations, which are relevant conditions needed for process evaluation, with respect to the industrial production of biodiesel. The developed kinetic model, coupled with a mass balance of the system, was fitted to and validated on experimental results for the fed-batch transesterification of rapeseed oil. The confidence intervals of the parameter estimates, along with the identifiability of the model parameters were presented. The predictive capability of the model was tested for a case using 0.5% (wt. Enzyme/wt. Oil), 0.5% (wt. Water /wt. Oil) and feeding 1.5 times the stoichiometric amount of methanol in total over 24 h. For this case, an optimized methanol feeding profile that constrains the amount of methanol in the reactor was computed and the predictions experimentally validated. Monte-Carlo simulations were then used to characterize the effect of the parameter uncertainty on the model outputs, giving a biodiesel yield, based on the mass of oil, of 90.8 ± 0.55 mass %. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiotechnology Progress
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1277–1290
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Enzymatic Biodiesel
  • Kinetic modeling
  • Transesterification
  • Uncertainty analysis


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