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A new catalyst for low-cost production of biodiesel fuel

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Daiki Axis Co. (Matsuyama City, Japan; www.daiki-axis.com) has developed a new solid catalyst for biodiesel fuel production under the support of New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) under the authority of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The company’s new catalyst, tradenamed DX-G1, acts as a bi-functional catalyst — simultaneously as both acid catalyst and alkaline catalyst — for the synthesis of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME). DX-G1 is a pellet-type catalyst that is insoluble in water and acidic media, and enables the synthesis of FAME in a single-step reaction whereby fatty oils and methanol flow through a packed-bed reactor. FAME yields of more than 98% have been observed with DX-G1, compared to 85% yields using conventional homogeneous catalysts. The solid catalyst can be easily recovered and reused, and the product contains no residual catalyst or soaps, which enables fast separation of the high-purity (95%) byproduct, glycerin. Eliminating the washing steps needed to remove homogeneous catalysts also means less wastewater generated. These features combine to reduce production costs by 30%, says the company. The catalyst can be used continuously for more than…
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