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Magnetic fraction from phosphate mining tailings as heterogeneous catalyst for biodiesel production through transesterification reaction of triacylglycerols in bio-oil

1 Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys (UFVJM), Campus JK, 39100-000 Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil
2 Department of Chemistry, ICEx, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
3 Center of Natural Sciences, Federal University of Piauí (UFPI), 64049-550 Teresina, Piauí, Brazil
4 Center for the Development of the Nuclear Technology (CDTN), 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Topical Section: Bioenergy and Biofuel

Biodiesel is an interesting alternative fuel for complementing or even completely replacing the mineral diesel. It is industrially obtained through the transesterification reaction of triacylglycerol in bio-oils with alcohol of short molecular chain, to produce the corresponding mixture of esters of fatty acids (biodiesel). Mineral rejects from mining usually constitute a major environmental and economic problem. Herein, it is described the study devoted to evaluate the chemical efficiency of the transesterification reaction of triacylglycerols in soybean oil with methanol, catalyzed by a material based on the magnetic fraction from rejects of a phosphate ore being commercially exploited in Tapira, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The magnetite-containing material from those mining tailings was used to form a new heterogeneous catalyst, by first mixing it with a commercial synthetic calcium oxide. The mixture was then heated at 200 ℃ for 4 h. The magnetic, crystallographic and 57Fe hyperfine structures of the resulting catalyst were assessed by VSM magnetometer, X-ray diffraction and 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy, respectively. The transesterification reaction was performed at 65 ℃, at a molar ratio methanol:oil 30:1. The chemical yields in esters for this heterogeneously catalyzed transesterification was 99 ± 1 mass%, through a reaction completed in 135 ± 30 min. The reaction catalyzed by the sole magnetic fraction, without CaO, did not produce any esters even after 24 h reaction; the pure CaO catalyst yielded 84 ± 10 mass% esters, after reaction completion, which took 128 ± 16 min. The magnetic fraction with CaO was found to act synergically on the transesterification reaction. From the technological, economic and environmental points of view, these results strongly evidence the real viability of using this magnetic fraction-CaO catalyst, to produce biodiesel.
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