A magnetically separable SO 4 /Fe-Al-TiO 2 solid acid catalyst for biodiesel production from waste cooking oil

Jabbar Gardy, Amin Osatiashtiani, Oscar Céspedes, Ali Hassanpour, Xiaojun Lai, Adam F. Lee, Karen Wilson, Mohammad Rehan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A novel magnetic SO4/Fe-Al-TiO2 solid acid catalyst was synthesized for biodiesel production via the (trans)esterification of waste cooking oil (WCO). The nanocomposite catalyst was prepared by the sequential functionalisation of commercial rutile/anatase mixed phase TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) with alumina as a buffer layer, and subsequently hematite to impart magnetic character, prior to sulfation with chlorosulfonic acid to introduce Brønsted acidity. XRD showed that the SO4/Fe-Al-TiO2 catalyst comprised titania (rutile and anatase phases), aluminium sulphate, and hematite nanoparticles, while electron microscopy revealed the layer-by-layer assembly of these components within the SO4/Fe-Al-TiO2 catalyst. FTIR confirmed the presence of surface sulphate groups SO42- and S2O72-/S3O102-, creating a predominantly Brønsted acid catalyst with high acid loading. The catalyst achieved 96 % fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) yield from WCO after 2.5 h of reaction at 90 °C, using 3 wt% of the magnetic catalyst, and a methanol:oil molar ratio of 10:1. SO4/Fe-Al-TiO2 was also effective for feedstocks containing up to 20 wt% of free fatty acid (FFA), and showed excellent stability for WCO (trans)esterification over 10 recycles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-278
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Early online date20 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Solid acid catalyst
  • (trans)esterification
  • magnetic nanoparticle
  • biodiesel
  • waste cooking oil


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