Date of this Version
Published in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 37 (1998), pp. 3768-3771.
Transesterification of beef tallow was investigated. The solubility of ethanol in beef tallow was much higher than that of methanol. At 100 °C the solubility of methanol was 19% (w/w). The solubility of ethanol in beef tallow reached 100% (w/w) at about 68 °C. For the distribution of methanol between beef tallow methyl esters (BTME) and glycerol, the percentage of total methanol in the glycerol phase was higher than that in the fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) phase in a simulated system at room temperature. At 65-80 °C, however, the percentage of total methanol in FAME (60% (w/w)) was higher than that in glycerol (40% (w/w)) in a 90:10 (w/w) blend of FAME and glycerol. This coincided with the methanol distribution in the transesterified product. The process for making beef tallow methyl esters should recover methanol using vacuum distillation, separate the ester and glycerol phases, and then wash the beef tallow methyl esters with warm water. At neutral pH, the separation of ester and glycerol and water washing was easier because it reduced emulsion formation.