(ORDO NEWS) — An international scientific team, with the participation of scientists from the University of MISIS, has synthesized an effective industrial catalyst for the production of biofuels, which makes it possible to obtain it faster and at low temperatures.
The results of the work were published in the international scientific journal Asian Journal of Chemistry. The pace of growing environmental problems and the simultaneous global energy crisis motivate scientists around the world to actively look for alternative ways to generate energy.
An excellent example of renewable energy is biodiesel, a liquid motor biofuel that can help offset the growing demand for green energy.
Biodiesel has a number of advantages over hydrocarbon fuels : it is safer, non-toxic, biodegradable and contains a minimum amount of sulfur and its compounds.
It is more oxygenated than conventional mineral diesel fuel and burns more efficiently in the engine, thus resulting in less hydrocarbon, CO2 and toxic emissions.
The presence of oxygen also increases the lubricity of the fuel, which prolongs the life of the engine. In addition, it has a higher cetane number and flash point.
Biodiesel is a mixture of fatty acid esters that can be sourced from various vegetable oils or animal fats. In the US and Europe, biodiesel is made from edible oils such as sunflower or soybean, while in India, non-edible oils from plants such as jatropha and karanjia are used.
Biodiesel is obtained by the reaction of esterification with monohydric alcohols – methanol, ethanol and others.
A key role in the production of biodiesel at the industrial level is played by the so-called heterogeneous catalyst. During a chemical reaction, vegetable oil or another source of triglycerides in the presence of a catalyst reacts with monohydric alcohols, forming biodiesel and glycerol in the final.
In the presented scientific work, scientists for the first time used wollastonite, a mineral from the class of silicates, natural calcium silicate, as a catalyst. “Wollastonite was synthesized by auto-combustion, with L-alanine used as a fuel for combustion.
To assess the catalytic ability of the obtained wollastonite, the transesterification reaction of soybean oil with methanol was carried out. After the reaction, the biodiesel, glycerol and catalyst were separated by centrifugation.
In order to optimize the percentage of catalyst used in the production of biodiesel, we carried out a number of experiments with catalysts of different qualities.
In the end, we concluded that the alkali metal oxide and silica in the composition of wollastonite helped in the production of biodiesel (82.6 percent) in less time and at a lower temperature, ”said Rajan Chowdhary, one of the authors of the study, a researcher at MISIS University.
At present, the research team continues to optimize the resulting catalyst for industrial use.
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