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CE 650


Technical Description

The production of biodiesel from vegetable oils by adding methanol and caustic soda (as catalyst) is a chemical process known as transesterification. 

The process is operated continuously in large-scale production. The input materials of vegetable oils, methanol and caustic soda are fed into the two stirred tank reactors. The chemical reaction takes place at temperatures of approximately 60°C and a retention time of approximately 2 hours, per stirred tank reactor. Any input materials that have not yet been consumed are then returned with any by-products, caused to react again and then separated. 

The product mixture is neutralised with hydrochloric acid after successful transesterification and can be refined with an optional treatment.

Learning Objectives / Experiments

- fundamentals of chemical transesterification
- production of biodiesel from vegetable oil
- influence of retention time and temperature


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