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Continuous Process for the Production of Biodiesel using Tin Catalyst

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Oregon State University has developed ground-breaking continuous catalytic techniques for the production of biodiesel. These tin-based catalysts have demonstrated excellent activity in the transesterification of triglycerides in combination with saturated alcohols to form biodiesel. Biodiesel production of the present invention eliminates many of the difficulties of traditional high temperature or supercritical non-catalytic methods and substantially reduces the disadvantages of traditional heterogeneous catalytic methods of transesterification.


1. The tin catalyst is not consumed nor does it degrade during the reaction thereby reducing chemical costs. Additionally the catalyst does not contaminate the product streams thus making the esterification products easier and less expensive to polish. 2. These tin catalyzed processes do not produce soap because sodium methoxide is not used in the reaction; therefore the glycerin byproduct is not contaminated and is of a higher quality. 3. These reactions are tolerant of free fatty acids and moisture in feedstocks thus allowing the use of a wide range of less expensive oils and alcohols. 4. A continuous flow process design reduces the reactor footprint and produces products of consistent quality. The reactor size is quite small – a 50 gallon reactor volume will sustain a one million gallon-per-year biodiesel production facility. 5. These novel processes are compatible not only with methanol but also ethanol. Although the methanol-triglyceride reactions are faster (~40%) by taking advantage of bio-ethanol...

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