Lactide synthesis is an energy-intensive process used to produce polylactic acid (PLA). In this study, we propose a continuous lactide synthesis process developed on the basis of a recently developed one-step reaction using a SnO2-SiO2 nanocomposite catalyst. This process enables a rapid reaction time of 40 ms for the catalyst, which achieves 94% lactide yield. To design an efficient chemical process, reaction kinetics were developed and a heterogeneous reactor model was applied to the reactor. The proposed process has advantages over commercial processes, having both a rapid reaction rate and high yield. Moreover, its rapid reaction rate significantly increases the productivity. In addition, this process operates under atmospheric pressure, which makes it more energy efficient than commercial processes that operate under a high vacuum pressure of 20 mmHg. Therefore, the overall process is an effective alternative for lactide production.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research has been performed as a cooperation project of KRICT (KK-1501-C00) and by the BK 21 Program funded by the Korean Ministry of Education (MOE).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering