Enzymatic production of biodiesel from used/waste vegetable oils: Design of a pilot plant

Sulaiman Al-Zuhair, Asma Almenhali, Iman Hamad, Maryam Alshehhi, Noura Alsuwaidi, Suaad Mohamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, a proposed pilot plant has been designed to produce 1tonh-1 biodiesel (BD) from waste/used vegetable oil using enzymatic approach. Complete material and energy balances were carried out using Excel spreadsheets, and detailed equipment sizing were determined. Immobilized lipase (Novozyme 435) is used as a catalyst in a packed bed bioreactor. The effluent of the reactor is passed though a Liquid-liquid extractor to separate the BD from other components. This is followed by a flash dram and a vacuum distillation column for further purification of the product. In addition, an economic feasibility of this process was assessed. The amount of feed streams of waste oil, methanol and tert-butanol required were found to be 1138, 130 and 7.6kgh-1, respectively. The main units in the proposed plant were designed and the economic feasibility of the process was assessed. It was found that the total capital investment required is about US$ 620,000, which will be paid back within four years of operation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2605-2614
Number of pages10
JournalRenewable energy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Biodiesel
  • Lipase
  • Packed bed bioreactor
  • Pilot plant design
  • Process flow diagram
  • Waste oil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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