Nb2O5/SBA-15 catalyzed propanoic acid esterification

Ângela Silva, Karen Wilson, Adam F. Lee, Vannia Cristina dos Santos, Ana Carolina Cons Bacilla, Karen Mary Mantovani, Shirley Nakagaki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A family of niobia (Nb2O5) functionalized SBA-15 solid catalysts have been prepared via wet impregnation with NbCl5 (2–32 wt% Nb) and subsequent thermal processing, for application in the acid catalyzed esterification of propanoic acid with methanol. Bulk and surface physicochemical characterization revealed that highly dispersed niobia species present at low loadings when calcined at 500 °C exhibit strong Brönsted acid character and associated activity for esterification. Increased calcination temperatures are found to result in a decrease in Brönsted:Lewis acid ratio associated with recrystallization of the niobia phase leading to a loss of catalyst activity. Esterification activity is found to be directly proportional to Brönsted:Lewis acid ratio, with the 2 wt% Nb/SBA-15 catalyst pre-calcined at 500 °C found to exhibit highest activity and excellent reusability without deactivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-504
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Early online date29 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Funding: CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoalde Nível Superior), CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico); Fundação Araucária; EPSRC (EP/K014706/1, EP/K014749/1 and EP/G007594/4); and the Royal Society for an Industry Fellowship.


  • acid solid
  • biodiesel
  • esterification
  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • niobium
  • SBA-15


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