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Keywords:

  • Epoxidation;
  • Fatty acid methyl esters;
  • Heterogeneous catalyst;
  • Hydrogen peroxide;
  • Niobium-silica catalyst

Abstract

Niobium(V)-containing silica catalysts were prepared by deposition of niobocene dichloride onto the surface of high-surface area silica supports following a dry impregnation or a liquid-phase grafting approach. These materials were used as heterogeneous catalysts for the selective epoxidation, in the presence of aqueous hydrogen peroxide, of a representative set of unsaturated fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), namely methyl oleate, methyl linoleate, and methyl ricinoleate. They all proved to be water-tolerant, recyclable, resistant to metal leaching, active and selective in the production of the related epoxidised FAME.