A morpholine alkaline basic ionic liquid (IL) 1-butyl-3-methyl morpholine hydroxide ([Hnmm]OH) was synthesized and characterized by 1
H NMR and FT-IR. [Hnmm]OH is highly active in catalyzing the synthesis of biodiesel from the reaction of methanol with soybean oil. The influence of the reaction conditions, including the [Hnmm]OH catalyst amount, the molar ratio of methanol to soybean oil, reaction temperature and time, was investigated. Moreover, the pH and thermal stability of the catalyst was studied. The catalytic activity was affected by its alkalinity. The optimum reaction conditions were found as [Hnmm]OH amount of 4% (mass fraction), the methanol to soybean oil molar ratio of 8, temperature 70 °C and reaction time 1.5 h, the yield of Biodiesel reached 97.0%, and exhibits high stability upon recycling, the yield of Biodiesel is still more than 90% even after being reused for five times. A great advantage of using ILs is that it is very easy to separate the final products. After the reaction, a biphasic system was obtained. The top phase contains biodiesel and a little bit of methanol. Pure biodiesel can be isolated by vacuum evacuating the methanol. The bottom phase contains methanol, glycerol and ILs. Pure glycerol can be obtained simply by distillation. After distillation, pure ILs was obtained, which can be used directly for another reaction. The as prepared biodiesel shows very appealing properties.
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