A carbon dot-catalyzed transesterification reaction for the production of biodiesel
Biodiesel fuel production remains one of the most promising alternatives to non-renewable fossil fuels such as conventional oil and diesel. However, many challenges persist in its production particularly related to the tedious purification processes, high cost of production and unsustainable practices. Heterogenous metal-based catalysts can address these issues while having the added advantage of being recoverable and reusable; however, they can require a high catalyst loading and can be susceptible to metal leaching. Here we show the hydrothermal reaction of glycine and citric acid to prepare a heterogeneous carbon dot catalyst for the transesterification of canola oil to produce biodiesel. We report biodiesel conversions of ≥97% at 150 °C and 1 wt% catalyst loading. Moreover, we demonstrate the stability and reusability of the nanocatalyst with sustained catalytic efficiency for at least five reaction cycles. This cost-efficient and effective heterogeneous catalyst can have positive economic and environmental repercussions that can further drive academic and industrial research in this burgeoning area.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Journal of Materials Chemistry A Emerging Investigators