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Keywords:

  • biomass;
  • heterogeneous catalysis;
  • mesoporous materials;
  • sulfur;
  • zirconia

Abstract

A series of mesostructured SO42−/ZrO2-based hybrid materials functionalized with alkyl-bridged organosilica species, forming SO42−/ZrO2-SiO2(Ph/Et), were developed by using a single step co-condensation technique with hydrothermal treatment in the presence of triblock copolymer surfactants. By tuning the molar ratios of the starting precursors, the types of surfactant and the preparation conditions, as-prepared SO42−/ZrO2-SiO2(Ph/Et) exhibited 2 D hexagonal p6mm, 3 D cubic Im3m and 3 D interconnected, worm-hole-like pore geometries. The mesostructure, morphology, porosity, and composition, as well as acid property of as-prepared materials were characterized. As a novel, reusable, solid acid catalyst, the hybrid materials were applied for the biodiesel production from a non-edible oil (Eruca sativa Gars. oil) under mild conditions; considerably high catalytic activity and stability were observed. Special attention was paid to the influences of the textural properties on the activity of SO42−/ZrO2-SiO2(Ph/Et) materials to the target reaction.