Fluid Dynamics is the exclusive Australian and New Zealand representative of, and works closely with, SACOME one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of tubular/tube-in-tube heat exchangers.
SACOME’s experts in thermal design for the process industry since 1975, and backed by HTRI, the worlds’ leading thermal design institute, have provided literally thousands of customized and reliable engineering solutions adapted to the customers’ needs.
A European engineering company involved in Biodiesel Technologies.
To manufacture condensing and evaporating heat exchangers for the production of biodiesel from palm oil using:
The duty of the heat exchangers was to condense either pure methanol or a mixture of vapour phases which are composed of condensable components such as methanol and water, and non-condensable ones such as air.
Condensation had to occur in vacuum conditions and a correct thermal design of the heat exchangers was critical in this case. The process of condensation in gas mixtures does not take place in isothermal conditions as it does with pure components, and demanded a very accurate calculation to be carried out by the engineers.
SACOME’s Technical Department was further required to advise the client about the use of the most suitable cooling fluid, such as tower water or glycol solutions, for each case.
Several matters including the risk of mist flow and the difficulty of achieving complete boiling, had to be taken into account in the calculation of the boiling process.
Given the process data provided, the thermal design was carried out both for the condensers and the evaporators, looking for alternatives with the aim of offering the best solution to the client.
Boiling is a thermal processes that requires a deep knowledge by the designer. In this case the evaporation was designed by heating the methanol vapour using water steam as the service media. A suitable design was chosen to avoid mist flow, which can make it difficult to fully evaporate the entering stream, and the process flowrate was oversized which ensured that the required boiling capacity was reached. The design avoided dry wall mist flow which could lead to high tube wall temperatures.
Issues in the thermal calculation are not as sensitive with condensation. However it is important to take care to choose a suitable baffle geometry and spacing to ensure proper draining of the condensates and avoid vibration risks in the shellside. The latest version of HTRI software which has a specific module for the checking vibrations was used.
Biodiesel is produced by chemical reactions of transesterification and esterification, starting from vegetable or animal fats and oils (pure or recycled) that react with short-chain alcohols such as methanol or ethanol.
Along this reaction, the main step in which takes place in a reactor, other products and by-products such as glycerol (useful in the cosmetic industry), soaps or residual water, are processed or generated.
Biodiesel is an oil, either vegetable based or sometimes animal-fat based, and is composed by long-chain alkyl esters.
It can be used either alone, known as B100 biodiesel, or blended with conventional hydro-carbon.
Although biodiesel can also be obtained from various vegetable oils, like rapeseed (canola) or soybean, in this project the lipid raw material was palm oil.
Multitube type heat exchangers were ideal for the required process:
Horizontal or vertical disposition
In order to get the best performance from each heat exchanger, a recommendation was made to the client to install the heat exchangers vertically or horizontally for condensation or evaporation.
Skilled designers carried out thermal calculations using the latest version of HTRI which allowed them to accurately predict the thermal performance of the boiling and condensation processes, and to avoid vibration which can be a concern in processes with gases on the shellside.
Biodiesel can degrade natural rubber gaskets and the Technical Department took special care to choose a suitable material which was nonreactive to the processed fluids.
As that the processed fluids were methanol and ethanol vapours which are considered as flammable products by the Pressure Vessels European Directive 2014/68/UE, all equipment were certified to Category III and IV.
Due to the operation conditions of the equipment, after the thermal design was completed, strength calculations were carried out and checked against full vacuum.
Corrugated inner tubes were incorporated in the design to effectively avoid mist flow and achieve full boiling
We design and supply heat exchangers for Biodiesel Production:
- Methanol condensers
- Vent condensers
- Glycerine reboilers
- Bleached oil heaters
- Methylester stripping columns
- Glycerin distillation columns
- Methanol distillation columns
- Oil refining columns
- Third transesterification reactors
- Methanol rectification columns
- Oil / trysil mixing tanks
- Bleached oil buffer tanks
- Additives/oil mixing tanks
- Citric acid solution vessels
- Mixing Reactors
- Gum recovery tanks
- Bleaching earths charging vessels
- Glycerine holding vessels
- Methylester holding vessels
- Barometric tanks
- Oil intermediate tanks
- Methanol recycle tanks
- Methanol holding tanks
- Acidulate water holding vessels
- CIP tanks
- Vacuum buffer tanks
- Oil/water settling tanks
- Condensate recovery tanks
- Warm water holding tanks
- Citric acid holding tanks
- Centrifugal cover washers
- Bleached oil dryers
- Degummed oil intermediate tanks