K- and Cu-doped CaTiO3-based nanostructured hollow spheres as alternative catalysts to produce fatty acid ethyl esters as potential biodiesel
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New functional polycation oxide-type catalysts were synthesized by the ultrasonic spray-pyrolysis method. The catalytic activity in the production of fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE´s) using soybean oil was studied. Catalysts are conformed by nanostructured hollow spheres of low density with a stoichiometric formula Ca1-KxTiCux/2O3. The influence of the substitutional ratio (x) upon the catalytic activity was verified. The Ca1-xKxTiCux/2O3 sample with x=0.3 showed the highest activity with a yield up to 89 % to produce fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE´s) after 24h reaction using 15wt.% catalysts, 120°C and 40bars. The enhancement in the activity was ascribed to the substitution of the Ca+2 sites by K+ and Ti+4 by Cu+2 and to the hollow morphology favoring a more effective interaction between the soybean oil and the active basic sites of the catalysts.