Canola oil was hydrogenated on an industrial nickel catalyst at 180 °C under a wide range of pressures from 1.5 to 21 bar(a). The effect of hydrogen pressure on the hydrogenation characteristics and fatty acids profile was investigated. The hydrogenation kinetics were described by a simplified three-step model including linolenic acid. The apparent rate constants for the particular reaction steps (hydrogenation, isomerization) kx
as well as rate constants kx0
and reaction orders in hydrogen were determined. The results reveal that with the increasing pressure an increase of values of all rate constants was observed, with the largest increase being observed for the rate constant of hydrogenation of monoenes to stearic acid (about 20 times). Moreover, with the increasing pressure the isomerization rate of cis
dienes to trans
dienes was found to become lower than the dienes hydrogenation rate. Analogously, the cis/trans
monoenes isomerization rate was also found to decrease with the increasing pressure. The reaction orders of the hydrogenation steps with respect to hydrogen were in the range of 0.35 to 1.1. The kinetic model was verified by comparsion of predicted fatty acids contents with the experimental data of fatty acids profiles. It emerged that a simplified kinetic model proposed can be utilized to simulate the course of the hydrogenation process and concentrations of fatty acids at a certain iodine value.
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