ABSTRACT In this study, a simple and effective technique for establishing an external mass transfer model in a recirculated packed-bed batch reactor (RPBBR) with an immobilized lipase enzyme and Jatropha oil system is presented. The external mass transfer effect can be represented with a model in the form of Colburn factor JD = K Re-(1–n). The value of K and n were derived from experimental data at different mass flow rates.The experiment shows an average increment of 1.51% FFA for calcium alginate and 1.62% FFA for carrageenan after the hydrolysis took place. Based on different biopolymer material used in immobilized beads, JD = 1.674 Re-0.4 for calcium alginate and JD = 1.881 Re-0.3 for k-carrageenan were found to be adequate to predict the experimental data for external mass transfer in the reactor in the Reynolds number range of 0.2 to 1.2. The purposed model can be used for the design of industrial bioreactor and scale up. Besides, the external mass transfer coefficients for the hydrolysis of Jatropha oil reaction and the entrapment efficiency for the two biopolymer materials used were also investigated.
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