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Epoxidation of Karanja (Millettia pinnata) Oil Methyl Esters in the Presence of Hydrogen Peroxide over a Simple Niobium-Containing Catalyst

1
CNR—Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie Molecolari, 20133 Milano, Italy
2
CSIR—National Chemical Laboratory, Pune 411008, India
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Catalysts 2019, 9(4), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal9040344
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 26 March 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 8 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epoxidation Catalysis)
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Abstract

The synthesis, characterization and catalytic performance of a conceptually simple, novel NbOx-SiO2 catalyst are here described. The niobium(V)-silica catalyst was prepared starting from cheap and viable reactants, by alkaline deposition of NH4Nb(C2O4)2·H2O in the presence of fructose as a stabilizer and subsequent calcination. The NbOx-SiO2 solid (0.95 Nb wt.%) was tested in the liquid-phase epoxidation with aqueous hydrogen peroxide of methyl oleate, as a model substrate. It was then tested in the epoxidation of a mixture of methyl esters (FAMEs) obtained by transesterification with methanol and purification of karanja oil, extracted from the autochthonous Indian variety of Millettia pinnata tree. The catalyst showed a promising performance in terms of methyl oleate conversion (up to 75%) and selectivity to epoxide (up to 82%). It was then tested on the FAME mixture from karanja oil, where interesting conversion values were attained (up to 70%), although with lower selectivities and yields to the mixture of desired epoxidized FAMEs. The solid withstood four catalytic cycles overall, during which a non-negligible surface reorganization of the Nb(V) sites was observed. However, this restructuring did not negatively affect the performance of the catalysts in terms of conversion or selectivity. View Full-Text
Keywords: heterogeneous catalysis; epoxidation; niobium catalysts; karanja oil; fatty acid methyl esters; hydrogen peroxide; Millettia pinnata; mesoporous silica catalyst heterogeneous catalysis; epoxidation; niobium catalysts; karanja oil; fatty acid methyl esters; hydrogen peroxide; Millettia pinnata; mesoporous silica catalyst
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Scotti, N.; Ravasio, N.; Evangelisti, C.; Psaro, R.; Penso, M.; Niphadkar, P.S.; Bokade, V.V.; Guidotti, M. Epoxidation of Karanja (Millettia pinnata) Oil Methyl Esters in the Presence of Hydrogen Peroxide over a Simple Niobium-Containing Catalyst. Catalysts 2019, 9, 344.

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