Publication Details (including relevant citation information):
In the search for renewable fuels that can replace petroleum-based fuels, biodiesel has gained distinction as a promising solution. Biodiesel is a mixture of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) synthesized via the transesterification of vegetable oils with methanol catalyzed by homogeneous sodium methoxide. Some progress in developing a solid catalyst has been made, but these materials do not yet match the effectiveness of liquid catalysts. This paper discusses the catalytic activity of tribasic phosphate and dibasic carbonate supported on treated silica or alumina. A simple method was developed for facilitating the dispersion of solid catalyst particles in the reaction mixture. On acid-treated silica, trisodium phosphate proved to be among the most active catalysts for this reaction, but its stability as a heterogenous catalyst was shown to be poor. Silica supports were also shown to be unstable in the presence of the highly basic methoxide generated during the reaction, suggesting that silica is unsuitable as a support for any basic catalyst for FAME production.
Address (URL): http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ef100333y