Special Issue "Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production"

A special issue of Catalysts (ISSN 2073-4344). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomass Catalysis".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 September 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Giancarlo Cravotto
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Drug Science and Technology, University of Turin, Via P. Giuria 9, 10125 Turin, Italy
Interests: green chemistry; process intensification; green extraction; enabling technologies (ultrasound, microwaves, hydrodynamic cavitation, ball milling, flow chemistry); sustainable chemical processes
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Umer Rashid
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Advanced Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang 43400, Malaysia
Interests: heterogeneous catalysts; bio-based catalysts; magnetic catalysts; biodiesel production
Dr. Chawalit Ngamcharussrivichai
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Technology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Interests: Synthesis, Modification, and Surface Characterization of Zeolitic and Mesoporous Materials, Catalyst Technology, Biodiesel Production

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable catalysis is fundamental to attain the renewable energy. Regardless of the sources of energy – vegetable oil, biomass, – a renewable energy future will rely on the development of sustainable catalysts. Due to the challenges in the synthesis of existing catalysts, the transition toward cost-effective routes for the improvement of sustainable catalysts for renewable biofuel fuels, accelerate.

The role of catalysts is critical not only in the conversion process of biofuels systems but also making the overall process more efficient, less energy intensive and economically feasible. Improved sustainable catalysts are needed to increase process efficiency, reduce energy and produce cleaner products such as ultralow sulfur biodiesel. Recently, waste biomass-based catalysts such as biochar and seashells are utilized instead of costly commercial catalysts. Therefore, this special issue would cover how such cheap and effective sustainable catalysts could be developed for biofuels systems such as a catalytic approach for sustainable energy production.

For this Special Issue, we invite papers dealing with the development of bio-based heterogeneous catalysts for the synthesis of biodiesel production.

More specifically, topics of interest for the Special Issue include (but are not limited to):

  • Biomass
  • Bio-based catalysts
  • Bio-based magnetic catalysts
  • Bioproducts
  • Biorenewables
  • Bioenergy/biofuel byproducts
  • Biodiesel
  • Biolubricants
  • Bioethanol
  • Biomethane

Prof. Dr. Giancarlo Cravotto

Dr. Umer Rashid

Dr. Chawalit Ngamcharussrivichai

Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Catalysts is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

bio-based catalysts;

bio-based magnetic catalysts;

biodiesel;

biomethanol;

biogas;

green diesel;

biolubricant;

bioenergy

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
Computational Assessment of Botrytis cinerea Lipase for Biofuel Production
Catalysts 2021, 11(11), 1319; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/catal11111319 - 30 Oct 2021
Viewed by 408
Abstract
The demand for ecofriendly green catalysts for biofuel synthesis is greatly increasing with the effects of fossil fuel depletion. Fungal lipases are abundantly used as biocatalysts for the synthesis of biofuel. The use of Botrytis cinerea lipase is an excellent approach for the [...] Read more.
The demand for ecofriendly green catalysts for biofuel synthesis is greatly increasing with the effects of fossil fuel depletion. Fungal lipases are abundantly used as biocatalysts for the synthesis of biofuel. The use of Botrytis cinerea lipase is an excellent approach for the conversion of agroindustrial residues into biofuel. In this study, phylogenetic analyses were carried out and the physicochemical properties of B. cinerea lipase were assessed. Furthermore, the protein structure of B. cinerea lipase was predicted and refined. Putative energy-rich phytolipid compounds were explored as a substrate for the synthesis of biofuel, owing to B. cinerea lipase catalysis. Approximately 161 plant-based fatty acids were docked with B. cinerea lipase in order to evaluate their binding affinities and interactions. Among the docked fatty acids, the top ten triglycerides having the lowest number of binding affinities with B. cinerea lipase were selected, and their interactions were assessed. The top three triglycerides having the greatest number of hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic interactions were selected for simulations of 20 ns. The docking and simulations revealed that docosahexaenoic acid, dicranin, and hexadeca-7,10,13-trienoic acid had stable bonding with the B. cinerea lipase. Therefore, B. cinerea lipase has the potential to be used for the transesterification of fatty acids into biofuels, whereas docosahexaenoic acid, dicranin, and hexadeca-7,10,13-trienoic acid can be used as substrates of B. cinerea lipase for biofuel synthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production)
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Article
Immobilization of Potassium-Based Heterogeneous Catalyst over Alumina Beads and Powder Support in the Transesterification of Waste Cooking Oil
Catalysts 2021, 11(8), 976; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/catal11080976 - 15 Aug 2021
Viewed by 549
Abstract
In this work, the beads and powder potassium hydroxide (KOH) and potassium carbonate (K2CO3) supported on alumina oxide (Al2O3) were successfully prepared via incipient wetness impregnation technique. Herein, the perforated hydrophilic materials (PHM) made from [...] Read more.
In this work, the beads and powder potassium hydroxide (KOH) and potassium carbonate (K2CO3) supported on alumina oxide (Al2O3) were successfully prepared via incipient wetness impregnation technique. Herein, the perforated hydrophilic materials (PHM) made from low-density polyethylene (LDPE) was used as the catalyst reactor bed. The prepared catalysts were investigated using TGA, XRD, BET, SEM-EDX, TPD, FTIR while spent catalysts were analyzed using XRF and ICP-AES to study its deactivation mechanism. The catalytic performance of beads and powder KOH/Al2O3 and K2CO3/Al2O3 catalysts were evaluated via transesterification of waste cooking oil (WCO) to biodiesel. It was found that the optimum conditions for transesterification reaction were 1:12 of oil-to-methanol molar ratio and 5 wt.% of catalyst at 65 °C. As a result, the mesoporous size of beads KOH/Al2O3 and K2CO3/Al2O3 catalysts yielded 86.8% and 77.3% at 2 h’ reaction time of fatty acids methyl ester (FAME), respectively. It was revealed that the utilization of PHM for beads K2CO3/Al2O3 increase the reusability of the catalyst up to 7 cycles. Furthermore, the FAME produced was confirmed by the gas chromatography-mass spectroscopic technique. From this finding, beads KOH/Al2O3 and K2CO3/Al2O3 catalysts showed a promising performance to convert WCO to FAME or known as biodiesel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production)
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Article
Glucose Conversion into 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural over Niobium Oxides Supported on Natural Rubber-Derived Carbon/Silica Nanocomposite
Catalysts 2021, 11(8), 887; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/catal11080887 - 22 Jul 2021
Viewed by 583
Abstract
5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is one of the most important lignocellulosic biomass-derived platform molecules for production of renewable fuel additives, liquid hydrocarbon fuels, and value-added chemicals. The present work developed niobium oxides (Nb2O5) supported on mesoporous carbon/silica nanocomposite (MCS), as novel [...] Read more.
5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is one of the most important lignocellulosic biomass-derived platform molecules for production of renewable fuel additives, liquid hydrocarbon fuels, and value-added chemicals. The present work developed niobium oxides (Nb2O5) supported on mesoporous carbon/silica nanocomposite (MCS), as novel solid base catalyst for synthesis of HMF via one-pot glucose conversion in a biphasic solvent. The MCS material was prepared via carbonization using natural rubber dispersed in hexagonal mesoporous silica (HMS) as a precursor. The Nb2O5 supported on MCS (Nb/MCS) catalyst with an niobium (Nb) loading amount of 10 wt.% (10-Nb/MCS) was characterized by high dispersion, and so tiny crystallites of Nb2O5, on the MCS surface, good textural properties, and the presence of Bronsted and Lewis acid sites with weak-to-medium strength. By varying the Nb loading amount, the crystallite size of Nb2O5 and molar ratio of Bronsted/Lewis acidity could be tuned. When compared to the pure silica HMS-supported Nb catalyst, the Nb/MCS material showed a superior glucose conversion and HMF yield. The highest HMF yield of 57.5% was achieved at 93.2% glucose conversion when using 10-Nb/MCS as catalyst (5 wt.% loading with respect to the mass of glucose) at 190 °C for 1 h. Furthermore, 10-Nb/MCS had excellent catalytic stability, being reused in the reaction for five consecutive cycles during which both the glucose conversion and HMF yield were insignificantly changed. Its superior performance was ascribed to the suitable ratio of Brønsted/Lewis acid sites, and the hydrophobic properties generated from the carbon moieties dispersed in the MCS nanocomposite. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production)
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Article
Synthesis of Alpha Olefins: Catalytic Decarbonylation of Carboxylic Acids and Vegetable Oil Deodorizer Distillate (VODD)
Catalysts 2021, 11(8), 876; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/catal11080876 - 21 Jul 2021
Viewed by 496
Abstract
Decarbonylation of carboxylic acids provides an effective protocol for producing alpha olefins; however, previous literature has focused on the palladium-bisphosphine catalysts and has only sporadically studied the palladium-monophosphine catalyst. To investigate the catalytic activity of the palladium-monophosphine catalyst on decarbonylation of carboxylic acids, [...] Read more.
Decarbonylation of carboxylic acids provides an effective protocol for producing alpha olefins; however, previous literature has focused on the palladium-bisphosphine catalysts and has only sporadically studied the palladium-monophosphine catalyst. To investigate the catalytic activity of the palladium-monophosphine catalyst on decarbonylation of carboxylic acids, new monophosphine ligands were synthesized (NP-1, NP-2, CP-1 and CP-2). By employing (1–3 mol%) palladium-naphthylphosphine catalysts, various carboxylic acids were converted into corresponding alpha alkenes with good yields and selectivity within a short period of time. Vegetable oil deodorizer distillate (VODD), which is a by-product from the vegetable oil refinery process, was found to be rich in free fatty acids and there is great interest in turning vegetable oil deodorizer distillate into value-added compounds. It is noteworthy that our catalytic system could be applied to convert vegetable oil deodorizer distillate (VODD) into diesel-like hydrocarbons in a good yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production)
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Article
A Novel Route of Mixed Catalysis for Production of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters from Potential Seed Oil Sources
Catalysts 2021, 11(7), 811; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/catal11070811 - 01 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 611
Abstract
Depleting petroleum resources coupled with the environmental consequences of fossil fuel combustion have led to the search for renewable alternatives, such as biodiesel. In this study, sunflower (Helianthus annus), mustard (Brassica compestres) and pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum) [...] Read more.
Depleting petroleum resources coupled with the environmental consequences of fossil fuel combustion have led to the search for renewable alternatives, such as biodiesel. In this study, sunflower (Helianthus annus), mustard (Brassica compestres) and pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum) seed oils were converted into biodiesel (fatty acid methyl esters) by acid-, base- and lipase-catalyzed transesterification, and the resultant fuel properties were determined. The methyl esters displayed superior iodine values (102–139), low densities, and a high cetane number (CN). The highest yield of biodiesel was obtained from mustard seed oil, which provided cloud (CP) and pour (PP) points of −3.5 and 5 °C, respectively, and a CN of 53. The sunflower seed oil methyl esters had a density of 0.81–0.86 kg/L at 16 °C, CP of 2 °C, PP of −8 °C, and a CN of 47. The pearl millet seed oil methyl esters yielded a density 0.87–0.89 kg/L, CP and PP of 4 °C and −5 °C, respectively, and a CN of 46. The major fatty acids identified in the sunflower, mustard, and pearl millet seed oils were linolenic (49.2%), oleic acid (82.2%), and linoleic acid (73.9%), respectively. The present study reports biodiesel with ideal values of CP and PP, to extend the use of biodiesel at the commercial level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production)
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Article
The Effect of Ni-Modified LSFCO Promoting Layer on the Gas Produced through Co-Electrolysis of CO2 and H2O at Intermediate Temperatures
Catalysts 2021, 11(1), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/catal11010056 - 02 Jan 2021
Viewed by 700
Abstract
The co-electrolysis of CO2 and H2O at an intermediate temperature is a viable approach for the power-to-gas conversion that deserves further investigation, considering the need for green energy storage. The commercial solid oxide electrolyser is a promising device, but it [...] Read more.
The co-electrolysis of CO2 and H2O at an intermediate temperature is a viable approach for the power-to-gas conversion that deserves further investigation, considering the need for green energy storage. The commercial solid oxide electrolyser is a promising device, but it is still facing issues concerning the high operating temperatures and the improvement of gas value. In this paper we reported the recent findings of a simple approach that we have suggested for solid oxide cells, consisting of the addition of a functional layer coated to the fuel electrode of commercial electrochemical cells. This approach simplifies the transition to the next generation of cells manufactured with the most promising materials currently developed, and improves the gas value in the outlet stream of the cell. Here, the material in use as a coating layer consists of a Ni-modified La0.6Sr0.4Fe0.8Co0.2O3, which was developed and demonstrated as a promising fuel electrode for solid oxide fuel cells. The results discussed in this paper prove the positive role of Ni-modified perovskite as a coating layer for the cathode, since an improvement of about twofold was obtained as regards the quality of gas produced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production)
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Article
Biodiesel: Modified Mixed Oxides as Catalyst for Transesterification of Rapeseed Oil
Catalysts 2020, 10(12), 1397; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/catal10121397 - 30 Nov 2020
Viewed by 546
Abstract
Biodiesel, as one of the alternative biofuels replacing the common fossil fuels, is prepared by transesterification of oils and fats. Commonly, the reaction is catalysed by either acidic or basic catalysts. The availability of the active sites to large triglyceride molecules is the [...] Read more.
Biodiesel, as one of the alternative biofuels replacing the common fossil fuels, is prepared by transesterification of oils and fats. Commonly, the reaction is catalysed by either acidic or basic catalysts. The availability of the active sites to large triglyceride molecules is the key factor of the heterogeneous catalysts. The use of carbon fibres during the synthesis of Mg/Fe layered double hydroxides results in the formation of macropores during the calcination. The amount of carbon fibres showed an important effect on the textural properties of the resulting mixed oxides. The texture was determined by N2-adsorption and Hg-porosity. The catalyst activity in the studied reaction was examined by determination of ester amount by gas chromatography and the activity was compared with unmodified mixed oxides. The highest ester yield (40 wt.%) was achieved by adding 1 wt.% of carbon fibres to the catalyst with the largest size of macropores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production)
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Article
Application of Activated Carbon to Obtain Biodiesel from Vegetable Oils
Catalysts 2020, 10(9), 1049; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/catal10091049 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 892
Abstract
The methanolysis of refined vegetable oils (rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, corn oil and olive oil) using a heterogeneous carbonaceous catalyst was studied. Activated carbon (AC) was prepared from beech tree wood and used as the support for KOH and a lipase catalyst. The [...] Read more.
The methanolysis of refined vegetable oils (rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, corn oil and olive oil) using a heterogeneous carbonaceous catalyst was studied. Activated carbon (AC) was prepared from beech tree wood and used as the support for KOH and a lipase catalyst. The reactions were carried out for 1–4 h at 60 °C with a methanol-to-oil molar ratio of 6:1 and 0.5–1.5 wt.% KOH/AC. In contrast, the biotransformation of vegetable oils was carried out for 24 h at 40 °C with an alcohol-to-oil molar ratio of 4:1 and 5 wt.% lipase/AC. The highest methanolysis yield (99%) for the fatty acid methyl esters was obtained for lipase/AC. These data show that activated carbon is a promising supporter for KOH as well as for lipase in the transesterification reaction of vegetable oils with methanol. The use of both catalysts in the transesterification reaction may improve biodiesel production. The lipase/AC enables the reduction in methanol excess and eliminates waste formation, whereas the saponification of triglycerides is scanty when KOH/AC is used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production)
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Review

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Review
Nanobiocatalysts for Biodiesel Synthesis through Transesterification—A Review
Catalysts 2021, 11(2), 171; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/catal11020171 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
Converting useless feedstock into biodiesel by utilizing the process of transesterification has been regarded as an alternative approach recently used to address the fuel and energy resources shortage issues. Nanobiocatalysts (NBCs), containing the biological component of lipase enzyme immobilized on nanomaterials (NMs), have [...] Read more.
Converting useless feedstock into biodiesel by utilizing the process of transesterification has been regarded as an alternative approach recently used to address the fuel and energy resources shortage issues. Nanobiocatalysts (NBCs), containing the biological component of lipase enzyme immobilized on nanomaterials (NMs), have also been presented as an advanced catalyst to effectively carry out the process of transesterification with appreciable yields. This study highlights the fundamentals associated with NBCs and the transesterification reaction catalyzed by NBCs for summarizing present academic literature reported in this research domain in recent years. Classification of the NBCs with respect to the nature of NMs and immobilization methods of lipase enzyme is also provided for organizing the recently documented case studies. This review is designed to act as a guideline for the researchers aiming to explore this domain of biodiesel production via NBCs as well as for the scholars looking to expand on this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production)
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Review
Monolith Metal-Oxide-Supported Catalysts: Sorbent for Environmental Application
Catalysts 2020, 10(9), 1018; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/catal10091018 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 832
Abstract
The emission of untreated environmental harmful gases such as sulfur and nitrogen oxide (SOx and NOx) emissions is considered old fashioned, since industries are compelled by governments and legislations to meet the minimum threshold before emitting such substances into the atmosphere. Numerous research [...] Read more.
The emission of untreated environmental harmful gases such as sulfur and nitrogen oxide (SOx and NOx) emissions is considered old fashioned, since industries are compelled by governments and legislations to meet the minimum threshold before emitting such substances into the atmosphere. Numerous research has been done and is ongoing to come up with both cost-effective equipment and regenerable catalysts that are adsorbent—or with enhanced sorption capacity—and with safer disposal methods. This work presents the general idea of a monolith/catalyst for environmental application and the technicality for improving the surface area for fast and efficient adsorption–desorption reactions. The chemical reactions, adsorption kinetics, and other properties, including deactivation, regeneration, and the disposal of a catalyst in view of environmental application, are extensively discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production)
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Review
Enabling Technologies and Sustainable Catalysis in Biodiesel Preparation
Catalysts 2020, 10(9), 988; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/catal10090988 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1067
Abstract
Over the last decade, enabling technologies and sustainable catalysis have become appealing options for biodiesel preparation because of their impressive process intensification and energy savings. The present review will compare the most innovative protocols that have been developed and improved to use non-conventional [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, enabling technologies and sustainable catalysis have become appealing options for biodiesel preparation because of their impressive process intensification and energy savings. The present review will compare the most innovative protocols that have been developed and improved to use non-conventional energy sources and catalysts that are performed, in particular, using continuous-flow methods. Although this account cannot be comprehensive, it will, however, provide a good overview of the reaction-rate improvements and catalyst activation that is provided by microwaves, ultrasound, hydrodynamic cavitation, flow reactors and even hybrid techniques. Advantages and limitations are discussed together with industrial scalability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Catalysts for Biofuel Production)
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