Palm frond and spikelet as environmentally benign alternative solid acid catalysts for Biodiesel production
Carbonization–sulfonation method was used in synthesizing sulfonated mesoporous catalysts from palm tree
biomass. BET, XRD, EDX and FE-SEM analyses elucidated the structural and textural properties of the catalysts. Further,
FT-IR and titrimetric analyses measured the strong acid value and acidity distribution of the materials. Results obtained from
these analyses indicated large mesopore volume, surface area, uniform pore size and high acid density on the catalysts. The
catalytic activity exhibited by esterifying used frying oil containing high (48%) free fatty acids (FFAs) corroborated these
properties. All catalysts exhibited high activity with sPTS/400 converting more than 98.15% FFA into FAMEs. The catalyst
exhibited the highest acid density of 1.2974 mmol/g from NaOH titration. This is outstanding considering the lower reaction
parameter of 5 h, 5:1 methanol-to-oil ratio and moderate temperature range between 100 and 200 °C. The study further
illustrates prospects of converting wastes into highly efficient, benign and recyclable solid acid catalysts.
Keywords- Biomass, Esterification, High Free Fatty Acid, Mesoporous Carbon Sulfonation, Solid Acid Catalyst.