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A novel hydrophobic ZRO2-SIO2 based heterogeneous acid catalyst for the esterification of glycerol with oleic acid

Kong, Pei San. A novel hydrophobic ZRO2-SIO2 based heterogeneous acid catalyst for the esterification of glycerol with oleic acid. PhD, Génie des Procédés et de l'Environnement, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, 2018, 179 p.

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Abstract

The low market value of glycerol has led to extensive investigations on glycerol conversion to value-added derivatives. This work focuses on industrially important catalytic esterification of glycerol with oleic acid due to the high commercial value of the resulting products. In this work, a novel heterogeneous acid catalyst featuring hydrophobic surface was developed on ZrO2-SiO2 support as water tolerant solid acid catalyst is vital for biphasic esterification reactions producing water. The synthesized catalyst (ZrO2-SiO2-Me&Et-PhSO3H) was prepared through silication and surface modification using trimethoxymethylsilane (TMMS) and 2-(4-chlorosulfonylphenyl) ethyltrimethoxysilane. The surface morphology, physiochemical and textural properties, acidity and hydrophobicity were characterized. The mechanism of the catalyst surface modification is thereof proposed according to comprehensive characterization results. A novel technique to control acidity and hydrophobicity level of the designed catalyst is disclosed in this work. The acidity and hydrophobicity of the catalyst were tuned by controlling the amount of surface modification agents. It was found that the hydrophobicity of the catalyst decreased as its acidity increased. ZrO2-SiO2-Me&Et-PhSO3H_70 catalyst with 70 mol% of TMMS and 0.62 mmol/g acidity is the optimal catalyst for glycerol esterification with oleic acid. Furthermore, the role of hydrophobicity in catalytic reaction was investigated herein. It was found that at constant catalyst acidity, the more hydrophobic catalyst showed better yield. The conversion using the designed catalyst (ZrO2-SiO2-Me&EtPhSO3H_70) is 88.2% with 53.5% glycerol monooleate selectivity and 40.0% glycerol dioleate selectivity (combined 94% selectivity of glycerol monooleate and dioleate) at equimolar oleic acid-to-glycerol ratio, 160 oC, reaction temperature, 5 wt% catalyst concentration with respect to weight of oleic acid, solvent-less reaction conditions and 8 h reaction time. This work reveals that the hydrophobicity and the pore volume of the designed catalyst significantly affect the product selectivity. In addition, the performance of the hydrophobic designed ZrO2-SiO2-Me&Et-PhSO3H_70 catalyst was used to benchmark with catalytic activity of sulfated zirconia (SO42-/ZrO2) and commercial catalysts (Amberlyst 15 and Aquivion). The correlation results showed that the average pore volume (pore size) influenced the product selectivity when ZrO2-SiO2-Me&Et-PhSO3H_70 catalyst was compared to three SO42-/ZrO2 catalysts that were developed from different zirconium precursors. Whereby, the higher pore volume catalyst is favourable to glycerol dioleate production at identical reaction conditions. It can be concluded that pore volume and size can be used to control the product selectivity. In addition, this study also revealed that hydrophobicity characteristic facilitated initial reaction rate effectively.

Item Type:PhD Thesis
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Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
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Research Director:
Cognet, Patrick and Aroua, Mohamed Kheireddine
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Deposited On:02 Jun 2020 12:30

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