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Ingeniería e Investigación

Print version ISSN 0120-5609


ECHEVERRI, David Alexander; RIOS, Luis Alberto  and  MARIN, Juan Miguel. Synthesising unsaturated fatty alcohols from fatty methyl esters using catalysts based on ruthenium and tin supported on alumina. Ing. Investig. [online]. 2011, vol.31, n.1, pp.74-82. ISSN 0120-5609.

Most promising catalysts for synthesising unsaturated fatty alcohols are based on group 8 metals with a promoter like tin, because the process can be carried out in moderate conditions, and these metals are less toxic than chromium. There have been no reports about the use of this catalyst to date using raw materials like methyl ester blends or evaluation reusing catalysts. This paper presents the hydrogenation of methyl esters from palm oil and commercial methyl oleate with Ru-Sn/Al2O3 catalysts prepared by impregnation, at moderate pressure and temperatur (5 MPa and 270°C). Greater selectivity to unsaturated alcohol and the less selectivity to methyl stearate was found for an optimal Sn:Ru=2 ratio. Hydrogenation of palm oil methyl esters with this catalyst produced a mixture of oleyl alcohol, saturated alcohols having 16-18 carbon atoms and heavy esters. Raw material had no great effect on catalyst activity. However, the catalyst showed deactivation through several uses due to decreased catalytic area.

Keywords : fatty alcohol; hydrogenation; methyl ester; palm oil; heterogeneous catalysis.

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