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Synthesis of recyclable hollow Fe/C—SO3H fiber as a catalyst for the production of biodiesel



Biodiesel has received much attention in the recent years as one of the most renewable bioenergy sources. The production of biodiesel from vegetable oil has a great advantage over other sources for having an efficient solid catalyst suitable for making the process fully ecofriendly. In the current work, magnetic sulfonated carbon-based solid acid catalyst Fe/C—SO3H fibers were prepared by the organic gel-precursor transformation process and subsequent sulfonation from sugars and ferric salts. The esterification of oleic acid and methanol was taken as the model reaction to investigate the impact of preparation parameters on the activity of the catalyst. The experimental results showed that the conversion of oleic acid is more than 90% under optimal conditions. Furthermore, the Fe/C—SO3H fibers catalyst displays superparamagnetic properties. The catalyst was separated by a magnetic field, and around 80% biodiesel conversion was obtained after being recycled for 10 times. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 33: 1432–1437, 2014