Electro-catalytic biodiesel production from canola oil in methanolic and ethanolic solutions with low-cost stainless steel and hybrid ion-exchange resin grafted electrodes

Francois Marie Allioux, Brendan J. Holland, Lingxue Kong, Ludovic F. Dumée

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Biodiesel is a growing alternative to petroleum fuels and is produced by the catalyzed transesterification of fats in presence of an alcohol base. Transesterification processes using homogeneous catalysts are considered to be among the most efficient methods but rely on the feedstock quality and low water content in order to avoid undesirable saponification reactions. In this work, the electro-catalytic conversion of canola oil to biodiesel in a 1% aqueous methanolic and ethanolic reaction mixture was performed without the addition of external catalyst or cosolvent. An inexpensive stainless steel (SS) electrode and a hybrid SS electrode coated with an ion-exchange resin catalyst were used as cathode materials while the anode was composed of a plain carbon paper. The cell voltages were varied from 10 to 40 V and the reaction temperature maintained at 20 or 40°C. The canola oil conversion rates were found to be superior at 40°C without saponification reactions for cell voltages below 30 V. The conversion rates were as high as 87% for the hybrid electrode and 81% for the plain SS electrode. This work could inspire new process development for the conversion of high water content feedstock for the production of second-generation biodiesel.

Original languageBritish English
Article number22
JournalFrontiers in Materials
Volume4
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Jul 2017

Keywords

  • Biodiesel
  • Electro-catalytic conversion
  • Hybrid electrodes
  • Ion-exchange resin
  • Porous stainless steel electrodes

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