The Pennsylvania State University
Biodiesel, a renewable fuel, is an important alternative energy option in terms of energy, environment and economy. Current methods use soluble liquid catalysts and this poses separation issues. Our concept is to use solid catalysts to produce biodiesel employing ethanol as a critical medium as well as a reactant. Five metal oxides were identified as effective solid catalysts from batch tests. The reaction conditions are 250° C and 65 atmospheres. Lab-scale packed-bed reactor studies have shown high conversions in 5~20 minutes. Further studies are underway. The proposed process can handle feedstock with high free acid content.