In this study, it is introduced a sustainable synthetic route of alkyl esters, considered value-added industrial chemicals and fuels, from volatile fatty acids (VFAs) that can potentially be generated from organic waste. In the presence of a porous carbon material, the thermally induced reaction could be conducted under an initial pressure of 1 atm. Even though the reaction was finished within <10 s, they gave a high yield of target products: the conversion of six VFAs into their corresponding methyl esters which can be further converted into gasoline alternatives with >90 wt% yields. The carbon black showed better performance for both reactions than other commercially available porous material such as silica. This work suggests that carbon is a good option of being used as a porous material for thermal esterification to produce renewable alternative chemicals from waste-derived feedstocks.
Authors: Kwon EE, Jung JM, Kim HJ, Lee J
; Full Source: Environmental Research. 2020 Jan 30;183:109199. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109199. [Epub ahead of print]