Solid Base Transesterification Catalysts for Biodiesel Production

BACKGROUND: Biodiesel presents physical-chemical properties similar to petro-diesel, and can be used directly in the motor with no further significant mechanical modifications or expenditure in maintenance. The base catalyzed transesterification of triglycerides produces a non-toxic, biodegradable, renewable and clean burning fuel that can directly replace petroleum diesel in most applications. However, commercial technology for biodiesel production generally employs homogeneous bases as catalysts, which suffers from separation problems due to emulsion formation and from waste treatment issues. Thus, the use of solid bases is desirable to allow flow reactor applications.

DESCRIPTION: Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed new solid base catalysts prepared from ferric ion doped hydrotalcite (HTC) precursors. These catalysts are used for transesterification of seed oil triglycerides to fatty acid methyl esters, which represents a key step in biodiesel production.


* Faster than solid acid catalysts
* Doped HTCs are easily synthesized from inexpensive material
* Adaptable for use in flow reactors
* Tunable basicities
* Higher catalytic activity


* Transesterification process of vegetable oils

This technology is available for licensing. Patent Pending.

REFERENCE: 2008-728

Type of Offer: Licensing

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