Acidic mesoporous silica for the catalytic conversion of fatty acids in beef tallow
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Propylsulfonic acid-functionalized mesoporous silica materials were synthesized using a co-condensation technique. The catalytic performance of the resulting acidic mesoporous materials was evaluated in the methanol esterification of free fatty acids in beef tallow as a pretreatment step for alkyl ester production. The multicycle stability of the acid-functionalized mesoporous silica catalysts was studied. Issues concerning impurities in the feedstocks as well as a means of improving performance of the acidic solid catalyst through alternative strategies are discussed. Introduction of a hydrophobic group into the organosulfonic acid-functionalized mesoporous silica catalyst significantly enhanced the catalytic performance of the catalyst. The catalytic activity of the synthesized catalysts was compared to commercially available homogeneous and heterogeneous acidic catalysts.
Reprinted (adapted) with permission from Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research 45 (2006): 3022, doi: 10.1021/ie0601089. Copyright 2006 American Chemical Society.