Rational design of heterogeneous catalysts for biodiesel synthesis

Karen Wilson, Adam F. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dwindling oil reserves and growing concerns over carbon dioxide emissions and associated climate change are driving the utilisation of renewable feedstocks as alternative, sustainable fuel sources. Catalysis has a rich history of facilitating energy efficient, selective molecular transformations, and contributes to 90% of current chemical manufacturing processes. In a post-petroleum era, catalysis will be pivotal in overcoming the scientific and engineering barriers to economically feasible bio-fuels. This perspective highlights some recent developments in heterogeneous catalysts for the synthesis of biodiesel from renewable resources, derived from plant and aquatic oil sources. Particular attention will be paid to the importance of catalyst pore architecture, surface polarity and acid and base properties, in meeting the challenge of transforming highly polar and viscous bio-based reactants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-897
Number of pages14
JournalCatalysis Science and Technology
Issue number5
Early online date16 Feb 2012
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

We thank the EPSRC for funding (EP/F063423/2). KW acknowledges The Royal Society for the award of an Industry Fellowship, and AFL thanks the EPSRC for the award of a Leadership Fellowship (EP/G007594/2).


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