CHINA - A high-performance and environmentally friendly shrimp shell catalyst for biodiesel production has been developed by Dr Xinsheng Zheng together with Linguo Yang and Aiqing Zhang from Hua Zhong Agriculture University in Wuhan, China.
The catalyst was prepared by incomplete carbonisation of shrimp shell, loading KF on the resultant, and activation at a desired temperature.
"The dependence of catalytic activity on preparation conditions such as carbonisation temperature, loading amount of KF, and activation temperature was investigated," the researchers said in their papaer published in the American Chemical Society's Journal.
The shrimp shell catalyst was used to speed up the production of methanol from rapeseed. It found it had a conversion rate of more than 89 per cnet in three hours.
"The results indicated that the optimum preparation conditions were carbonization at 450 Â°C, loading KF of 25 wt %, and activation at 250Â°C," the researchers said.
"The conversion reached 89.1 per cent using the shrimp shell catalyst when the reaction was carried out at 65 Â°C with a catalyst amount 2.5 wt per cent, a methanol/rapeseed oil molar ratio 9:1, and a reaction time of three hours.
"The shrimp shell catalyst possesses a porous framework structure, and its catalytic activity for the transesterification came from the active sites formed by the reaction of incompletely carbonised shrimp shell with KF during the activation process. It was found that the shrimp shell catalyst shows high catalytic activity and ecologically friendly properties, having the potential opportunity to be used in biodiesel production process as heterogeneous base catalyst."