In this study, we investigated a fluidic system that adheres to new concepts of energy production. To improve efficiency, cost, and ease of manufacture, a millimetrically scaled device that employs a droplet-based co-axial fluidic system was devised to complete alkali-catalyzed transesterification for biodiesel production. The large surface-to-volume ratio of the droplet-based system, and the internal circulation induced inside the moving droplets, significantly enhanced the reaction rate of immiscible liquids used here - soybean oil and methanol. This device also decreased the molar ratio between methanol and oil to near the stoichiometric coefficients of a balanced chemical equation, which enhanced the total biodiesel volume produced, and decreased the costs of purification and recovery of excess methanol. In this work, the droplet-based co-axial fluidic system performed better than other methods of continuous-flow production. We achieved an efficiency that is much greater than that of reported systems. This study demonstrated the high potential of droplet-based fluidic chips for energy production. The small energy consumption and low cost of the highly purified biodiesel transesterification system described conforms to the requirements of distributed energy (inexpensive production on a moderate scale) in the world.
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