Zinc glycerolate as a novel heterogeneous catalyst for the synthesis of fatty acid methyl esters
•Transesterification of soybean oil (SO) with methanol.•Zinc glycerolate was used as heterogeneous catalyst at 100–140 °C.•Food-grade oil, acid oil and water-content oil were used.•Zinc glycerolate was active: 84–99.5% SO conversion with 48–94% FAME yield.•Zinc glycerolate was stable (constant activity in 5 consecutive tests).
In this work, zinc glycerolate (ZnGly) is studied as a new catalyst for an environmentally friendly production of biodiesel. The solid was prepared by a simple procedure, characterized and studied in the transesterification of soybean oil with methanol.ZnGly was able to convert soybean oil into fatty acid methyl esters with 66–76% yield and up to 95–97% triglyceride (TG) conversion in the 100–140 °C reaction temperature range studied. The catalyst showed a long life and could be reused for five catalytic cycles without deactivation or selectivity loss.The catalyst exhibited good tolerance toward 0.5 wt.% water, without important changes in the TG conversion, but with a 23% decrease in FAME yield.In the presence of 10 wt.% fatty acids, ZnGly showed an almost complete TG conversion with an increase in FAME yield of 51% (93% FAME selectivity at 50 min reaction time). At 140 °C and in acid oil, ZnGly can be easily transformed into Zn carboxylate and partially re-generated in the presence of glycerol.
Graphical abstractTransformation cycle of the catalyst in different reaction medium.Figure optionsDownload full-size imageDownload as PowerPoint slide
Journal: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental - Volume 144, January 2014, Pages 308–316