Low-grade oils and fats: effect of several impurities on biodiesel production over sulfonic acid heterogeneous catalysts
Different lipidic wastes and low-grade oils and fats have been characterized and evaluated as feedstocks for the acid-catalyzed production of FAME. The characterization of these materials has revealed significant contents of free fatty acids, Na, K, Ca, Mg, P, unsaponifiable matter and humidity. Arenesulfonic acid-functionalized SBA-15 silica catalyst has provided yields to FAME close to 80% in the simultaneous esterification-transesterification of the different feedstocks, regardless of their nature and properties, using methanol under the following reaction conditions: 160ºC, 2 h, 30 methanol to oil molar ratio, 8 wt% catalyst loading, and 2000 rpm stirring rate. Nevertheless, reutilization of the catalyst is compromised by high levels of impurities, especially because of deactivation by strong interaction of unsaponifiable matter with the catalytic sites. The conditioning of these materials by aqueous washing in the presence of cationic-exchange resin Amberlyst-15, followed by a drying step, resulted in a lower deactivation of the catalyst.
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