Biodiesel production has an important role in the current energetic scenario that seeks to diversify the ways of fuel obtaining and to reduce the use of fossils fuels. The transesterification reaction is the main way of biodiesel production. This reaction is catalyzed by a strong base, generally caustic soda, soluble in reaction medium, what turns the process more expensive due to the purification steps needed to remove the catalyst from the products. In this sense, there is a recent searching to produce insoluble catalysts with sufficient basicity to promote the reaction. Among the heterogeneous catalysts, we can highlight the materials of M41-S family, that by having high surface area and important physic-chemical properties, are used in many processes. In 2004, Kubota and employees showed the existence of strong basic sites in presence of cationic surfactant and other researchers confirm their finding. Aiming to produce a heterogeneous catalytic route for transesterification reactions, where the catalyst material can be reused and the number of purification steps of the products is reduced, this project aims to synthesize and characterize the molecular sieve MCM-41 using cetylmethylimidazolium chloride as surfactant, changing the silicon and hydroxyls sources, finding an economic synthesis route and reducing the contaminants production. The materials obtained will be catalytically tested in a model reaction of monoester transesterification to verify their activity and stability.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: