Membrane reactors for biodiesel production with strontium oxide as a heterogeneous catalyst

Monika Hapońska, Claudia Nurra, Sònia Abelló, Michiel Makkee, Joan Salvadó, Carles Torras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


A membrane reactor containing an immobilized heterogeneous catalyst is an alternative for traditional homogeneous-based catalyzed transesterification for biodiesel production. Major problems in homogeneous catalysis are related to catalyst recuperation and soap formation, which can be overcome by using heterogeneous catalysts. Conversion can be increased by a combination of reaction and separation, using membranes with a specific pore size. The aim of this work was to study the performance of different membrane reactors combined with heterogeneous catalysis. The main objectives were: to identify a proper catalyst, to choose the proper immobilization technique, to establish the membrane with the adequate pore size, and to control the reaction and separation process. Amberlyst®15 with acid sites and different types of strontium oxide with basic sites were tested as heterogeneous catalysts. Strontium oxide provided the highest sunflower oil conversion (around 93%) and was easy to immobilize. Two catalytic membrane reactor configurations were investigated, thus confirming the production of several types of methyl esters. The configuration comprising the physical immobilization of the catalyst over the membrane reached a methyl ester yield of > 90 wt%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalFuel Processing Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Biodiesel
  • Catalytic membrane reactor
  • Heterogeneous catalyst
  • Sunflower oil
  • Transesterification


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