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Researchers study new nanocatalyst for biodiesel

The catalyst was obtained by calcination of a mixture of potassium fluoride and gamma aluminum oxide at 500 degrees Celsius for three hours
By Ron Kotrba | January 07, 2015

Iranian researchers H. Shahraki, M.H. Entezari and E.K. Goharshadi from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad have published a paper in Ultrasonics Sonochemistry on their use of a solid, nonhomogeneous nanocatalyst in both mechanical stirring and ultrasonic biodiesel reactions using soy oil. Among the noted benefits of the catalyst are its reasonable price, ease of separation, the possibility of recycling and reusing the catalyst, and the lack of soap formation. In their abstract of the research paper, the authors write:

The authors note that the catalyst was obtained by calcination of a mixture of potassium fluoride and gamma aluminum oxide at 500 degrees Celsius for three hours.

In the abstract of the research paper, the author’s write: “Nano-solid-base catalyst was characterized with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscope (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), thermal gravimetry (TG) and the Hammett indicator methods. The TEM image depicted nanoparticles and uniform dispersion of active phase over alumina. The XRD analysis confirmed the formation of potassium aluminum fluoride (K3AlF6) and potassium oxide, active catalyst for transesterification. The transesterification of soybean oil with methanol was performed by using both low frequency ultrasonic reactor (20 kHz) and mechanical stirring in the presence of KF/c-Al2O3. The influence of various parameters such as ultrasonic power, oil/methanol molar ratio, catalyst concentration, time, and temperature were studied on the biodiesel formation. The maximum yield (95 percent) was achieved by applying 45 W acoustic power, molar ratio of alcohol to oil at 12:1, catalyst concentration of 2.0 wt percent, 40 min sonication, and temperature of 50 degrees C. The transesterification was performed in 360 minutes using mechanical stirring with 76 percent yield. The results confirm that ultrasound significantly accelerates the transesterification reaction in comparison with the mechanical stirring.”

To read the full paper, click here.