An intensified esterification process was operated by circulating 10 l of reaction mixtures, consisting of palm oil fatty acid distillate (PFAD) and glycerol in hexane, through a packed-bed reactor (PBR) filled with 10 kg of delipidated rice bran lipase (RBL). The influence of the process parameters, such as reaction temperature and type of water-removal agent, on the performance of this intensified esterification process were investigated. The highest degree of esterification (61%) was achieved at a reaction temperature of 65°C, using silica gels as the water-removal agent. Thin-layer chromatography (TLC) analysis showed that the major composition of the esterified product was diacylglycerol.
- Packed bed reactor
- Palm oil fatty acid distillate
- Rice bran lipase